Mini-Pupillage & Work Experience

At QEB Hollis Whiteman we are dedicated to developing the future of the profession and this can start as early as a mini-pupillage.

What is a mini-pupillage?

Mini-pupillage is work experience with a barrister. It involves shadowing a barrister and observing their work. If the barrister goes to court, then so will you; if there is paperwork to do, or a conference to attend, then you will be involved in that too. It is your opportunity to find out about the profession at first hand to enable you to make an informed decision about whether it is what you want to do for a career.


QEB Hollis Whiteman offer mini-pupillages lasting one week to those who are interested in coming to the Criminal Bar and are considering applying to us for pupillage. Preferably, applicants are already enrolled on a University course or have successfully completed their undergraduate studies.

The aim of our mini-pupillages is to help people to decide whether a career at the Bar is for them by giving them exposure to the work that we do on a day-to-day basis. To that end, we aim to send you to court every day and try to ensure that you see as diverse a range of court work as possible.

How to apply

Applications for mini-pupillages in 2020 are now open. Please send the following documents via email to

  • Your CV; and
  • a covering letter explaining, in no more than 200 words, your interest in a career at the Criminal Bar (see below regarding additional requirement if also applying for assistance with mini-pupillage expenses).

Please include the dates during which you will be available for a mini-pupillage (bear in mind that the more flexible you are the more likely you are to secure a mini-pupillage).

There are no interviews. Applications are judged on their merit. All the information given by each applicant in his or her CV will be considered, but particular weight will be given to academic qualifications and the applicant's reasons for his or her interest in a career at the Criminal Bar.

Applications are accepted throughout the year. We aim to offer as many mini-pupillages as we can, but we receive a large number of applications each year and acceptance is not guaranteed. In the event that a mini-pupil cancels an assigned week, Chambers may not be able to provide an alternative date.

Mini-pupillages at QEB are not formally assessed. Please note that we do not require potential pupils to have completed a mini-pupillage with QEB Hollis Whiteman prior to applying for a pupillage. The process of selection for mini-pupillage is entirely separate from the pupillage process and acceptance/rejection of an application for mini-pupillage is not an indication of the likely outcome of any application for pupillage. Please do not, therefore, be deterred from applying for pupillage if you are unsuccessful in obtaining a mini-pupillage with us.

Work experience placements

Work experience placements are open to students in full-time education between 15 and 18 years of age. All work experience placements are one week long. The duties students can expect to undertake during a work experience placement at QEB Hollis Whiteman include:

  • Completing basic legal exercises.
  • Conducting legal research and writing legal reports.
  • Photocopying.
  • Filing.
  • Taking barristers’ papers to court and observing them in action.
  • Delivering documents.
  • Dealing with post.
  • Other ad hoc administrative duties.

Our aim is to offer students from all backgrounds, a week-long placement, which focuses on the work done by our busy clerking and administration team, and will involve shadowing various barristers at court and assisting them. The placement should provide students with experience of working in an organisation in the legal sector.

Please apply by sending a CV and covering letter via email to headed ‘Work Experience Application’ setting out, in no more than 200 words, why you would like to be given an opportunity to gain work experience at QEB Hollis Whiteman and the dates you are available to attend.

Please note that we are able to offer up-to four work experience placements per year.

Expenses and financial assistance

Each selected mini-pupil will be expected to pay for his or her own travel (and, if necessary, accommodation) expenses incurred in attending the mini-pupillage. However, if an applicant does not have sufficient means to meet their expenses then QEB may be able to offer financial assistance in the form of a bursary for up to six applicants per year. We offer up to a maximum of £150 per mini-pupil. 

Applicants qualifying for financial assistance are likely to be those who satisfy the following criteria:

A: Have attended a state school or college, are able to demonstrate high academic achievement, and have attended or are attending university.


B: Meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Neither of your parents went to university
  • You have received free school meals or your family has received income support
  • You have caring responsibilities
  • You were in care yourself
  • You have a disability

We will consider applications made in other circumstances at our discretion. Should a mini-pupillage applicant wish to apply for financial assistance, please indicate this at the end of your covering letter, specifying how you meet the above criteria (note: this will not form part of your 200 words).

Any application for financial assistance will be kept entirely confidential and will not affect any future application to Chambers.

Equal opportunities

QEB Hollis Whiteman is committed to equal opportunities and does not discriminate on the grounds of race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic and national origin), sex, pregnancy and maternity, disability, sexual orientation, marriage or civil partnership, religion or belief, age, or gender assignment. If a successful candidate has a disability, we will endeavor to make reasonable adjustments.

QEB Hollis Whiteman is committed to assisting the Bar to become as diverse and inclusive as possible. To this end, we encourage applications from university students and post-graduates from less advantaged backgrounds and those from minority ethnic communities.

Arabella MacDonald is the appointed Equality and Diversity officer in Chambers.


At the start of the week each mini-pupil is asked to sign an undertaking to maintain confidentiality in respect of all the sensitive and confidential information he or she may hear or read about during the mini-pupillage. You should be aware that, as a criminal chambers, our work includes dealing with serious and violent crime and it is likely that you will be exposed to material pertaining to such offences.