How to apply

Essex Court Chambers is a member of the Pupillage Gateway. Applicants who are interested in applying for pupillage should note the following:

General points

  • Law undergraduates may apply from their second year of studies onwards. Non-law graduates may apply after they have commenced their GDL.
  • Applications for pupillage should be made via the Gateway and in accordance with the Gateway timetable, the closing date for which is usually the end of April. In their answers to the questions on the Gateway application form, applicants should aim to provide evidence of their satisfaction of our objective criteria, ideally by reference to practical examples.
  • In addition to completing the online Gateway application form, applicants should also email their exam transcripts directly to the Secretary to the Pupillage Committee at


  • When completing the online Gateway application form, please note that we do not take up personal references (as opposed to academic or professional references). Rather:
    • Applicants with or undertaking a law degree should name at least two academic referees.
    • Applicants with a non-law degree should name at least two, and ideally three, academic referees, at least one of whom must have taught them law.
    • Applicants with relevant postgraduate experience should name at least two professional referees as an alternative or in addition to academic referees.
  • Please bear in mind that it is important that referees provide evidence relevant to the objective criteria we employ to select pupils. Therefore, choose your referees carefully; tutors with limited experience of an applicant will be less useful than a tutor with extensive relevant experience, albeit some years ago.
  • Referees for all applicants will be contacted directly by us. Please ensure that your referees are informed that they will be contacted by us, and ask them to return the reference promptly.”
  • Please note that we require email addresses for all referees.

Applicants with exemptions

  • Applicants who are exempt from the vocational stage of training should please note the following: applicants who (i) are solicitors having PQE of three years or less following completion of their training contracts (whom we will require to complete twelve months pupillage); or (ii) are required by the BSB to complete twelve months’ pupillage; or (iii) wish to be considered for 12 months’ pupillage (whether or not they are required to undertake such a pupillage) must apply through the Pupillage Gateway and in accordance with its timetable.
  • Transferring associate solicitors with more than 3 years’ PQE who are applying for pupillage via the Pupillage Gateway should, in addition to complying with the requirements set out above, send an email to the Secretary to the Pupillage Committee at briefly stating (i) the number of years’ PQE at which associates at their current firm are typically considered for partnership and, if the applicant is at or beyond that level, what they understand their partnership prospects to be; and (ii) whether they have acquired higher rights of audience and, if they do not hold higher rights, any relevant context.
  • Applicants with more than three years’ PQE seeking reduced pupillage should apply to the Committee on Cross Recruits and Associates. Please see the Established Practitioners section of the website for details. (Applications for reduced pupillage made to the Committee on Cross Recruits and Associates may be referred to the Pupillage Committee and if so, are processed in the same way as applications for full pupillage.)

Non-tenancy seeking pupillage

  • We do not accept applications for non-tenancy seeking pupillage.

We are committed to equality of opportunity and will consider any requests for reasonable adjustments to assist disabled applicants. Please see the Equality & Diversity page for more information.