Recruitment

Applications for pupillage are via the Pupillage Gateway. Please see the information under the headings below.

Any vacancies for established practitioners or third six pupils will be advertised here.

 

Pupillage

Pupillage

5RB is the leading set specialising in all areas of media and communications law, including defamation, privacy, breach of confidence, data protection and information law, harassment, contempt of court and reporting restrictions. We are the only chambers to specialise exclusively in this fascinating area. Our 35 full-time members act for both claimants and defendants and provide advice and representation to the press, television, radio, books and online publishers, as well as to celebrities and other individuals, businesses and not-for-profit entities.

Our members are regularly instructed in the most high-profile and groundbreaking cases, recent examples of which include the Johnny Depp libel trial, the Duchess of Sussex’s privacy and copyright claim, the litigation concerning the book ‘Putin’s People’, the Morrisons data breach, the ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel claim, the ongoing phone hacking litigation, and the Supreme Court decisions on serious harm to reputation (Lachaux v Independent & Evening Standard) and the public interest defence to defamation (Serafin v Malkiewicz). Several former members of 5RB have gone on to successful careers on the Bench, including the inaugural Judge in charge of the Media & Communications List, Warby J (now Warby LJ); the current Judge in charge of that List, Nicklin J; HHJ Parkes QC; and former media law judges Sir Charles Gray and Sir Michael Tugendhat.

We are seeking to recruit up to 2 pupils, with a view to tenancy, starting in October 2023. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate very high intellectual ability, usually via academic achievement, and excellent interpersonal and advocacy skills (written and oral). We look for applicants with an aptitude for, and an interest in, practice as a barrister in our specialist areas; however prior knowledge of the law in these areas is not a requirement.

Pupils at 5RB benefit from spending periods with four different pupil supervisors, seeing a variety of styles and perspectives and receiving expert tuition in practice in media and communications law, including advocacy. We are proud of maintaining a very friendly and collegiate atmosphere, and that extends to how we interact with our pupils: we see pupillage very much as a learning experience rather than a gruelling examination. Pupils will nonetheless need to demonstrate the very high level of skill and conduct necessary for a successful practice if they are to be taken on as tenants. The vast majority of our pupils in the past decade have been recruited as tenants (12 of 14), and we hope and expect that to continue.

The pupillages will carry an award of £40,000. A new tenant can expect their first year earnings to significantly exceed this level.

All applications for pupillage must be made via the Pupillage Gateway, which closes on 9 February 2022.

For further information on pupillage at 5RB, please see the further information on our Recruitment pages, and our Pupillage Policy.

Mini-pupillage

Mini-pupillage

5RB usually runs three mini-pupillage programmes each year. On these programmes we accept up to 6 mini-pupils for 2 days. During the 2 days you will have the opportunity to attend court hearings involving members of 5RB, to learn about our work, and to meet various members of Chambers.

In person programmes have been postponed until further notice. A remote programme will take place in the week commencing 31 January 2022. Please do apply by 10 am on Monday 17 January, if you are interested in attending our next available programme.

Applications for mini-pupillage at 5RB must be made using Chambers’ mini pupillage application form. A Word version is available here (right click and “save link as”):

5RB-mini-pupillage-application-form-Word-16-April-2019

Please email your completed form to mini-pupillage@5rb.com.

If you would like any further information about our mini-pupillage programme, please contact Chambers by telephone on 020 7242 2902, by email at mini-pupillage@5rb.com, or by letter to 5RB.

Tenancy

Tenancy

5RB seeks primarily to recruit tenants from our pupils. 12 of our last 14 pupils have successfully become tenants. We apply a very favourable rent regime for new tenants.

We are not currently inviting applications for tenancy from other practitioners. 

Pupillage Committee and Pupil Supervisors

The Pupillage Committee

The Pupillage Committee is made up of several members of 5RB intended to represent a spread of seniority across the set. Members of the Committee are responsible for conducting the pupillage application process and interviews.

The current members of the Committee are as follows:

Pupil Supervisors

Those members who are currently act as Pupil Supervisors at 5RB are:

Points to note

Recruitment

Equal Opportunities

5RB is committed to diversity and to equal opportunities for all, irrespective of race, colour, creed, ethnic or national origins, sexuality or gender, marital status, disability or age. We welcome applications from all backgrounds. 5RB is committed to and has implemented the Bar’s Equality Code.

Closing Dates

It is important that you take careful note of any closing date that applies to an application. Save in exceptional circumstances, we will not accept applications received after this date. If you anticipate problems in complying with the deadline, please contact our Administrator before the deadline expires.

Interview Arrangements

If you have any particular requirements in respect of your needs at interview (e.g. sign interpretation, wheelchair access etc.) or regarding the scheduling of your interview, please include details in your application or let us know separately. We will do everything we can to accommodate your requests.

Data Protection

We comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR. Information derived from application forms/CVs/the recruitment process will be used for recruitment purposes only and will not be passed to any other organisation.

Frequently asked questions

Recruitment – FAQs

Is any prior experience of media law required?

No. It is not necessary for you to have a law degree, still less for you to have studied law relevant to our practice areas. However, any relevant interest or experience you can demonstrate will certainly be considered.

Do I need to do a mini-pupillage at 5RB before applying for pupillage?

No, particularly not in the current circumstances. Our mini-pupillage programme has never been a requirement; it is not assessed. Of course, one of the factors we consider in the application process is the degree to which an applicant has demonstrated in interest in and aptitude for our areas of work which can, of course, include having completed a mini-pupillage with us. A mini-pupillage can really help you in ascertaining whether you would enjoy working in any particular chambers. We recommend that you apply for a mini-pupillage wherever you are thinking about applying for pupillage.

Can I make a deferred application for pupillage?

We do not encourage such applications. It is difficult for us to make decisions about recruitment so far in advance, particularly when this decision has necessarily to be made without the benefit of seeing the full range of potential applicants for the relevant places. If you consider that there are special reasons why you need to make a deferred application, we would encourage you to contact us before submitting your application.

Do I need a first or a 2:1?

Competition for pupillages at 5RB is fierce. Ordinarily we would expect a 2:1 degree or better. However, a candidate’s performance at degree level is just one of the factors that we consider. We do not screen out applicants that do not have a 2:1 or first, but we do encourage applicants to be realistic about their prospects if they have a poor academic background, and we would expect a convincing explanation as to why an applicant with the necessary intellectual ability did not achieve such a result.

What is pupillage at 5RB like?

You can expect to spend your 12-months broken up into four 3-month periods with different pupil supervisors. During the first six months you will spend most of your time working for your own pupil supervisor, although in the second six we will encourage you to do work with and for other members of 5RB. You will gain a unique insight into practice at the highest level, and will be given expert tuition in practice in our specialist areas, including drafting and advocacy. Your work will be regularly reviewed by your pupil supervisor and guidance and feedback provided. During your pupillage it is likely that there will be a number of in-house training seminars, as well as opportunities for you to broaden your experience by spending time at the in-house legal departments of national newspapers and broadcasters. For further details please see our Pupillage Policy and the ‘Meet our Pupils’ section below.

What opportunity will there be for me to get advocacy experience in my 2nd six-months?

Very limited. The nature of our work means that advocacy opportunities for pupils are rare. The focus of pupillage throughout the 12 months is on learning about practice in our particular highly specialist areas. However, 5RB has strong links with Islington Legal Advice Centre, which can offer pupils in their 2nd-six the opportunity to provide pro bono advocacy. In addition, we actively supports pupils volunteering for FRU.

Meet our pupil

 

For an insight into pupillage at 5RB, we asked Mariyam Kamil, our current pupil, a few questions:

Where did you go to university and what did you study?

I completed my undergraduate degree in law from Osmania University in India. Subsequently, I came to the UK to read for the BCL at Oxford and stayed on to pursue an MPhil and DPhil.

Why did you choose 5RB? 

5RB was an obvious choice for me because I had an academic interest in privacy and data protection. I must confess that I very much stumbled my way into developing an interest in this area. Having completed the BCL, I was keen to pursue a research degree. After mulling over several potential topics, I chose the right to privacy in India. I enjoyed researching it tremendously on my MPhil and felt that I could develop it into a doctorate. On the doctorate, I had the opportunity to consider comparative aspects of privacy and data protection law. This sparked my interest in media law.

What’s the best thing about pupillage? 

The best thing about pupillage is the quality of training you receive. Everyone involved in the process at 5RB is keen to help you to learn and succeed. My supervisors in particular have been very generous with their time and patience. They have given me detailed feedback on every piece of work that I have done so far. This has helped me improve my legal thinking and drafting substantially.

What’s the worst? 

Pupillage is a year of constant evaluation. 5RB tries to make this process less stressful by being transparent about the assessment. It is especially helpful that pupillage here is well structured and includes periodical reviews.

Was pupillage what you were expecting? 

I started pupillage just as the pandemic was beginning to recede. I was not quite sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Chambers had gone above and beyond to ensure that my pupillage is ‘in person’ as far as possible. As a result, I have had the advantage of sitting in my supervisors’ rooms, perhaps more than I had anticipated.

I was also not expecting to be in court as often as I have been. In the last three months, I have been fortunate to attend hearings in the employment tribunal, multiple county courts, the High Court and even the Supreme Court!

What advice would you give to potential applicants? 

First, think carefully about your answers before articulating them. This is true for the written application as well as the interview. The written application and the written assessment are excellent opportunities to demonstrate your writing skills. Structure, clarity of thought and simple language go a long way. Be careful to avoid typos.

Second, a Chambers choosing you is almost as important as you choosing them. Think about whether you see yourself fitting into the Chambers’ culture. Can you imagine working with these members for the rest of your professional life? A mini pupillage is an invaluable opportunity to answer this question.

Third, be professional but be yourself.