Give reasons for your choice of chambers Watch

pupil2016
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Unless you've done a mini - pupillage there it's pretty difficult to write anything interesting right?? just stuff lifted from the website and paraphrased. They must get sick of reading them. It comes right after the bit about areas of law and the answer is basically 'because you do the above areas of law'

Do people think this is really key to getting an interview?
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happyinthehaze
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(Original post by pupil2016)
Unless you've done a mini - pupillage there it's pretty difficult to write anything interesting right?? just stuff lifted from the website and paraphrased. They must get sick of reading them. It comes right after the bit about areas of law and the answer is basically 'because you do the above areas of law'

Do people think this is really key to getting an interview?
It is rather key, I would say, although I am on the sol side. Basically, they want to know that you really want to work for THEM rather than any old chambers who will have you. There are other reasons to choose a chambers other than the areas of law they work in.

You must have thought of some. There must be some reason why you chose them.

Chambers will want candidates who really want THEM. I don't agree that you need to have done a mini pupillage to write anything interesting - I mean, is there not anything they have done which has impressed you, or anyone who works there who has done anything you have been drawn by?

It's really likely that lifting stuff off the website and paraphrasing it is exactly the way not to go - yes, they will have read that before, so you have to try and elevate yourself in some way. In a good way.
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typonaut
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Generally I think this is a BS question, because one of the key things in a working environment is relationships between people - the key problem with this is that you don't know them and they don't know you. So, what I have done in the past is point out this dilemma, then suggest what I'm looking for in that relationship, and ask whether that fits with their ethos. Or, written that what I'm looking for fits with them, because...

But, happyinthehaze does suggest a way around this, to a certain extent, in looking at some of the things that members in that set have done. The problem with that advice is that it, once again, tends to stem from information on their web site.
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happyinthehaze
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Well, when a law firm asks why you are applying to that law firm, they want to know that you know something about them, their people, their cases, where they are going, their clients etc. They want to invest their money in someone who is going to be hanging around after qualification - surely it is the same with chambers, if not even more so. Chambers don't take on that many pupils, and they are hoping that the ones they do take on are going to be around for a while after qualifying.

So, I would suggest the OP puts him or herself in the shoes of the chambers - why do you think they are asking this question?

Also re: the point of regurgitating information on the website - I think the point here is that you need to do a bit more research than just what is says on the tin - read the press/legal reviews etc.

I have put previously on apps that I have seen individuals in court or heard in some way about the impact of a case, or connected in some other way and applied that to their firm/chambers.

Honestly - what do you think they want in this question? I think it is quite a legitimate question BTW - wouldn't you want to know why someone was applying to your chambers if you were going to sink a tonne of time and money into someone?


(Original post by typonaut)
Generally I think this is a BS question, because one of the key things in a working environment is relationships between people - the key problem with this is that you don't know them and they don't know you. So, what I have done in the past is point out this dilemma, then suggest what I'm looking for in that relationship, and ask whether that fits with their ethos. Or, written that what I'm looking for fits with them, because...

But, happyinthehaze does suggest a way around this, to a certain extent, in looking at some of the things that members in that set have done. The problem with that advice is that it, once again, tends to stem from information on their web site.
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happyinthehaze
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Oh yes. Won't chambers be looking specifically for people who have opinions and who can argue convincingly? This is an opportunity for you to show them that you can do this. Make the case for wanting to join their chambers!
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typonaut
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(Original post by happyinthehaze)
Honestly - what do you think they want in this question? I think it is quite a legitimate question BTW - wouldn't you want to know why someone was applying to your chambers if you were going to sink a tonne of time and money into someone?
I understand what you are saying, but I think the reality is that pupils become tenants/members, and stay longer term, because of the relationships between them and the other members, rather than what that particular set or an individual member does. That relationship only comes after someone has taken-up pupillage and gets to know the other members.

This is one reason I think that Oxford and Cambridge are so over-represented at the Bar, the recruiters just look at those applications and think "people like us".

The importance of this social bond is well recognised, it's one of the key reasons people stay at or leave firms, where they have the option.
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happyinthehaze
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Sure, relationships in the workplace are key.

But presumably you have to answer this question on pupillage apps even when you have not actually built up relationships with people in the chambers - there are definitely other reasons for wanting to work anywhere other than because you get on with the people who work there.

I think it's a bit of a poor show personally if an applicant can't come up with any reasons for wanting to work at a particular chambers (other than regurgitating the chambers' own puff).

Particularly in a wannabe barrister!

I don't think this question is about relationships (unless the OP had done a mini pupillage there which they haven't). But I guess you have taken this question to mean something other than that and that's up to you of course

(Original post by typonaut)
I understand what you are saying, but I think the reality is that pupils become tenants/members, and stay longer term, because of the relationships between them and the other members, rather than what that particular set or an individual member does. That relationship only comes after someone has taken-up pupillage and gets to know the other members.

This is one reason I think that Oxford and Cambridge are so over-represented at the Bar, the recruiters just look at those applications and think "people like us".

The importance of this social bond is well recognised, it's one of the key reasons people stay at or leave firms, where they have the option.
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typonaut
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(Original post by happyinthehaze)
I don't think this question is about relationships... But I guess you have taken this question to mean something other than that and that's up to you of course
I haven't taken it to mean something else, I just think it's a BS question because staying long-term anywhere is about relationships, and you don't know the people so how can you say anything about it!? You can talk about things members of chambers have done, etc, but as previously that's almost inevitably going to have been lifted from their web site.

It's the same sort of question you see in training contract applications: "What do you think differentiates us from other law firms?"/"Why are you interested in us?". The answer is that there is nothing that differentiates you that I can discern without actually working for you and I just want a job!

I've known many, many people who have left jobs to work elsewhere, because they thought they would be getting something better - one way or another. Only to hear a few months later that they were looking for something else because they couldn't bear the new environment - the lucky ones managed to crawl back to their old jobs.

This is the mismatch between the public face of an organisation (their web site) and what it's like actually working there (the relationships).
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pupil2016
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yes doesn't help that almost all chambers describe themselves are friendly, forward looking etc!
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typonaut
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(Original post by pupil2016)
yes doesn't help that almost all chambers describe themselves are friendly, forward looking etc!
Exactly: we're all great blokes (or blokesses) and we do amazing work with brilliant clients.

How do you differentiate that?
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TurboCretin
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(Original post by typonaut)
I haven't taken it to mean something else, I just think it's a BS question because staying long-term anywhere is about relationships, and you don't know the people so how can you say anything about it!? You can talk about things members of chambers have done, etc, but as previously that's almost inevitably going to have been lifted from their web site.

It's the same sort of question you see in training contract applications: "What do you think differentiates us from other law firms?"/"Why are you interested in us?". The answer is that there is nothing that differentiates you that I can discern without actually working for you and I just want a job!

I've known many, many people who have left jobs to work elsewhere, because they thought they would be getting something better - one way or another. Only to hear a few months later that they were looking for something else because they couldn't bear the new environment - the lucky ones managed to crawl back to their old jobs.

This is the mismatch between the public face of an organisation (their web site) and what it's like actually working there (the relationships).
No, the answer is "your firm/chambers has the unique combination of X, Y and Z which makes it the firm/chambers I was born to practice at because A, B and C". You don't need to have worked with the people there to convince them that it's the place for you, you just need to demonstrate that you've actually done your homework and figured out that the place can give you what you're looking for and vice versa.


(Original post by pupil2016)
yes doesn't help that almost all chambers describe themselves are friendly, forward looking etc!

(Original post by typonaut)
Exactly: we're all great blokes (or blokesses) and we do amazing work with brilliant clients.

How do you differentiate that?
Firms do the same thing - "we're different, just like every other City firm!". Chambers are unlikely to have single features which set them apart, so you need to look at them in the round.
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