St John’s Chambers in Bristol is one of the largest and most prestigious barristers’ sets in the South West, offering specialist advice and services in civil law.

We are recognised nationally as providing first class legal advice and representation in the six core practice groups: Commercial & Chancery, Personal Injury, Family, Public & Administrative Law, Clinical Negligence and Employment. We are instructed by regional and national law firms, acting for and advising prominent businesses, private individuals, local, public authorities and health trusts.

Our seven silks and 79 juniors regularly appear in the Commercial Court, Chancery & Family Divisions of the High Court, as well as the Court of Appeal.

Areas of work

Administrative law, agriculture and rural affairs, banking, construction and engineering, children, civil fraud, clinical negligence, company, commercial dispute resolution, court of protection, employment, environmental, family finance including ToLATA and Inheritance, health & safety, housing, industrial disease, inquests, insolvency,  intellectual, licensing, partnership, personal injury, planning, property and real estate, property and insurance litigation, professional negligence, regulatory and disciplinary, tax advisory and dispute resolution, travel litigation and jurisdiction disputes, town and village greens, wills, trusts and tax.

Our pupillage programme:

Each year the Pupillage Committee, with the Heads of each Practice Group, defines the pupillage requirements for the following year. As a pupil at St John’s Chambers, your pupillage will cover all necessary aspects of your specialist area(s).

What you can expect:

  • august-252a well structured pupillage;
  • to carry out research for your pupil supervisor and other members of Chambers;
  • to prepare pleadings, advices and opinions;
  • to attend conferences with your pupil supervisor, the solicitor, lay clients and experts;
  • to accompany your pupil supervisor and other members of Chambers to court in order to gain experience and a working knowledge of the court system;
  • to receive regular feedback on your work;
  • in your 2nd Six you will build on the first 6-months experience as well as being busy in court.

You will be required to develop and practise drafting skills. Being able to reduce a completed case to a well-drafted pleading will be a primary focus of the initial three months of the first (non-practising) six months.

What we look for in a pupil:

august-221bYou must be able to demonstrate certain discernible skills and have the ability to adapt and manage change.

We look to recruit top-quality applicants with the ability to analyse information quickly and to present arguments succinctly and persuasively. The typical successful applicant will have a first or upper second class degree (not necessarily in law) with good mooting experience and a desire to excel. We also welcome interest from suitably qualified professionals with a proven track record in industry, law, commerce, banking and medicine.

Whilst pupillage can offer experience across practice groups, market forces generally require specialisation as the norm once tenancy has been offered. Pupils are therefore expected to focus on key areas during pupillage.  Recruitment for October 2017 will focus on chancery & commercial, family, personal injury and clinical negligence work. However, outstanding candidates in other areas should not hesitate to apply.


We offer three funded pupillages with awards of £35,000 in the first 12 months. This means that Chambers will guarantee an income of £2,917 per month for the 12-month period of pupillage. This is subject to a clawback to the extent of any fees actually received during the second six months of pupillage.

When and how to apply:

Applications for the St John’s Chambers 2019 Pupillage are now closed. Details of the 2020 Pupilage applications will be posted here in the coming months.

Part-time pupillage

Dianne Martin and Dr Kate Harrington recount their respective experiences of setting up, and undertaking, one of the Bar’s first part-time pupillages and consider its wider applicability in the November edition of the Counsel Magazine.

Read more: Part-time pupillage: making it work

Any further questions?

The Pupillage Committee is chaired by Vanessa McKinlay. Should you have any general enquiries about pupillage, please do not hesitate to contact our Office Manager, Isabelle Mills who will deal with your enquiry.

St John’s Chambers provides services on an equal opportunity basis.

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