Since the introduction of the new competency based selection process for silk in 2005, Sherwood has been working with barristers to help them maximise the impact of their applications and the interview process. We had 47/108 of the successful candidates on the latest silk list; so we worked with around 44% of all the successful silks this year in some shape or form (application form, interview or both). 15/20 of the women we worked with got silk, with a 75% success rate compared to a success rate of 55% for women in the whole competition - so 15 out of the 30 women who got silk this time, worked with us. We are proud of these statistics.

So, what worries you about the process?

  • Where do I start reviewing the personal qualities or competencies on the application form?
  • What do they want to hear?
  • What can I do to prepare for a competency based selection process?
  • How do I choose the best assessors to represent me?
  • I haven’t had an interview for years, so I have no idea how I come across to others in an interview scenario
  • I’m usually the one asking the questions. What kind of questions will they ask me?

How can we help?

We understand how you feel and can help you make the most of this opportunity to prove yourself. In one or more confidential sessions you will have the opportunity to:

  • Review your approach to the application form
  • Address any other issues that really concern you about your application
  • Understand the competencies or qualities required of a silk
  • Practice some interview questions
  • Get robust, confidential feedback about how you come across and how you might improve

One-to-one coaching sessions are tailored to suit your needs and requirements. For those new to the process you may find two meetings useful for the application form at a fixed fee of £1,850 + VAT – the first meeting would be for an hour to help you build the “big picture” start point for your application and help you better understand the process. You then produce a draft application form. We would then pre-read the draft and provide feedback, guidance and ideas to help improve it in a one-to-one meeting of up to ninety minutes. Post-meeting feedback on your final draft would then be provided by email or telephone. For those who have applied before or are more confident about the process, you may want to skip the first meeting and go straight to the draft. The fixed fee for just one meeting and email feedback is £1,400 + VAT.

For work outside the range of work outlined above, plus subsequent work or meetings, costs will be based on an hourly rate of £375 + VAT – some clients have also wanted to focus on a particular competency, Diversity for example, so this can also be done as an hourly charge. Or indeed sit down and review their practice for a future application.

If you are then selected for interview, a 2 hour interview preparation session with two of our coaches is immensely useful at £1,300 + VAT. This includes reviewing your application in advance of the meeting and identifying any potential gaps, as well as the mock interview session itself. We seek to reproduce the actual interview scenario with a lay and a lawyer member, where possible, and give robust, confidential feedback about how you come across and some tools and techniques to help you improve. Having had this session you may want a “top-up” session a day or two before your interview with one of the original two coaches at £400 + VAT for an hour. The top-up is only available to those who have had the main session first.

For some of our clients, we are working with them a year or two in advance of their planned applications, running individually focused coaching sessions to help them understand what is required, understand themselves and their strengths, and goals and objective setting sessions to give them the best shot at their silk application.

Alternatively, we can come to Chambers and run a Taster Session (on silk or judicial applications, or both) specifically for your members and clerks to outline the process, give some general tips and ideas to help members make the most of their application or help those start to plan their practice now for future applications. This would be a 45 minute session in your Chambers with probably two of our experienced coaches and as many of your members and clerks as you want. There would then be an opportunity for questions and further discussion. Perhaps you might want us to come and talk to members about preparing for silk and judicial appointments at your next AGM? There is no formal charge for these sessions, but travel and/or overnight accommodation costs might be required depending on the time, day and venue of the session you want.

An example Silk Taster Session could include:

  • Review of the last competition results
  • Summary of the new process and timetable
  • Changes since the last competition
  • What they really want from the application form – understanding those competencies
  • Helping you choose the best assessors
  • Sifting
  • The interview – how not to be a victim
  • Where to start …………

For further details and information about the members of Sherwood PSF Consulting Ltd who are available to help you, contact Kate Blackburn.

  • Thank you. Your input was invaluable and I’m pretty sure a game changer. I will recommend you to any future applicants.
  • "Thank you. I’ve been preparing all day and am feeling very positive about it all.
  • It was a very good session we had last week - I feel much more confident as a result. I shall spend the weekend polishing my examples.
  • I much appreciate your input and I have spoken highly of you to others. Even more so since I have not yet received an invoice!
  • Because of your warm-up I was extremely relaxed and ready for action.
  • Thank you for your help yesterday. I found our meeting very constructive and helpful in directing my mind to the interview.
  • Thanks for an excellent session last week. I attach a redraft of my form and would welcome any comments.
  • I have had so many lovely letters and e-mails that I have failed to thank you when I should have done so already. What you provided was professionalism, cool analysis and excellent confidence building. May I thank you most sincerely and encourage you to keep doing what you are doing. As you know barristers are a funny bunch, at once confident in their own abilities yet lacking in so many other ways. Your service is like a well prepared set of instructions: no spare copies, no messy presentation, no misguided flannel, just the core documents and focus in the issues.
  • Thank you so, so much for all your help. I have been telling everyone (i) not to leave it to the last moment to write the form and (ii) to at the very least get some interview training. I hope that you will be very busy next year with my friends! Your help was invaluable.
  • I am not allowed to tell you about the content of my interview; but I think that I am allowed to tell you that the preparatory session that you gave me proved to be very appropriate. I would need a lot more practice to be good at the techniques; but I hope that, thanks to your help, I will not get any more practice! I am grateful to you both.
  • I have just heard that my application for Silk has been successful. I wanted to let you know because I found your guidance, advice and support throughout the process absolutely invaluable. I am immensely grateful to you both for your sound judgement.