Silk applications

Since the competency-based selection process for silk was introduced in 2005, the Sherwood Bar group has worked with literally hundreds of barristers and solicitors, to help them maximise the impact of their applications and successfully navigate the interview process.

We know that each client’s practice is different, and we treat each client as a unique individual seeking to put together the strongest application to reflect their own particular areas of expertise and to showcase their strengths.   We do not “cherry-pick” our clients. We are happy to support anyone who has decided to apply or is considering making an application. But also, if we think that a potential application is not as strong as it needs to be, or if we think a candidate would be better served by waiting a year or more before applying in order to address some weaker areas, we will not hesitate to provide the necessary feedback and advice.

Each year our clients represent around one-third of all the successful silks and we are very proud not only of our success rates but also of the relationships we build with our clients.

 

How can we help you?

Deciding to apply

We understand that it takes time to bring together a successful silk application and the process can be daunting initially. We can work with you prior to the application stage (in some cases one or two years before applying) to help you better understand the application process and to review your practice in terms of the competencies that need to be demonstrated in an application for silk. We can help you to reflect on both the strengths of a potential application as well as any possible gaps or challenges you may wish to focus on prior to applying. Pre-application support is charged on an hourly rate of £400 + VAT.

Preparing your application

Once you have decided to apply for silk we can assist you with putting together the application: selecting the strongest examples to demonstrate that you meet the required standard across each of the competencies and choosing the assessors who will be able to provide the best evidence in their assessments that you are ready for silk. We offer two packages of support at this stage depending on what you might need:

  • The full pre-application package (£2,000 + VAT) includes an initial review meeting of around 90 minutes in which we would review your readiness to make an application by assessing together the best examples to be used in your application and your potential assessors. Assuming you proceed with an application you would then be in a good position to produce a first draft of your application. We would review your draft in detail and meet with you to go through our detailed feedback and provide you with guidance and advice on how to improve your application. Following that meeting you would then send us an updated second draft on which we would provide you with final feedback by email.
  • The application review package (£1,500 + VAT) is for those who feel more confident about the process, or who may have applied before, and may therefore prefer to skip the initial review meeting and go straight to the first draft review stage followed by the same steps as above.
  • Bespoke application support – for those who only want limited support e.g. around one or two specific competencies, or for those who want more than two reviews of their draft form, we are also happy to work on an hourly-rate basis at a rate of £400 + VAT / hour.
  • Reduced rates – if you qualify for the QCA’s reduced rate application fee we are also able to offer reduced rates for application support. Please get in touch with us to discuss in confidence.

Preparing for your interview

Most barristers we work with tell us that they have not had an interview for many years, and most have never had a competency-based interview. For those silk applicants selected for interview, we offer the opportunity of a practice panel interview using examples of competency-based questions based on your own application. We provide detailed robust feedback on how your answers come across and offer some tools and techniques to help you improve. In our experience these practice sessions help our candidates feel much more confident going into their actual interview. A two-hour interview preparation session with a mock panel consisting of two of our coaches is £1,500 + VAT. For those who also then want a further one-hour top-up session with just one coach closer to their interview date, that is £450 + VAT.

If you feel your needs would be better met by support in a different format please get in touch to discuss your needs.  We are happy to be flexible and offer tailored support to suit.

If your chambers might be interested in holding a silk taster event we are happy to offer free 45-minute sessions in person or by Zoom in which we outline the process, explain what being ready for silk might look like, what examples will need to be included in an application, how to identify your likely best assessors and then how to approach the interview. These can be particularly helpful for barristers who may be a few years away from making an application but wanting to plan their practice ahead of time in order to put themselves in the best position to do so at some point in the future.

What our clients say

Let me say, first of all, that whatever the outcome of the process, my performance in the interview would have been much, much less adept without your assistance - which I found invaluable - and for which I owe you both many thanks. So, thank you!
Sherwood - consultants to professional service firms
2021-10-20T13:18:11+00:00
Let me say, first of all, that whatever the outcome of the process, my performance in the interview would have been much, much less adept without your assistance - which I found invaluable - and for which I owe you both many thanks. So, thank you!
Just a quick (and rather belated) note to thank all of you for your help with my application. You all made the elongated, stressful and at first incomprehensible process so much easier.
Sherwood - consultants to professional service firms
2021-10-20T13:18:30+00:00
Just a quick (and rather belated) note to thank all of you for your help with my application. You all made the elongated, stressful and at first incomprehensible process so much easier.
My overwhelming thought as they kept asking another of your questions was how good you are at your job. You prepared me so effectively. You made me think about everything in advance and I felt so much more confident in the interview as a result.
Sherwood - consultants to professional service firms
2021-10-20T13:52:36+00:00
My overwhelming thought as they kept asking another of your questions was how good you are at your job. You prepared me so effectively. You made me think about everything in advance and I felt so much more confident in the interview as a result.
I can say for certain that you prepared me perfectly – there were no questions that came as a surprise!
Sherwood - consultants to professional service firms
2021-10-20T13:54:32+00:00
I can say for certain that you prepared me perfectly – there were no questions that came as a surprise!
Thanks again for all your invaluable assistance this year, particularly for Ann’s endless patience with and improvements to my form.
Sherwood - consultants to professional service firms
2021-10-20T13:55:41+00:00
Thanks again for all your invaluable assistance this year, particularly for Ann’s endless patience with and improvements to my form.
Huge thanks to both of you for all the help and support - it was invaluable. V grateful indeed. And will certainly recommend you to any colleagues who consider applying in future.
Sherwood - consultants to professional service firms
2021-10-20T13:56:46+00:00
Huge thanks to both of you for all the help and support - it was invaluable. V grateful indeed. And will certainly recommend you to any colleagues who consider applying in future.
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.
Sherwood - consultants to professional service firms
2021-11-17T17:00:10+00:00
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.
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.
Sherwood - consultants to professional service firms
2021-11-17T17:01:34+00:00
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.
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.
Sherwood - consultants to professional service firms
2021-11-17T17:03:00+00:00
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 have had so many lovely letters and emails 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.
Sherwood - consultants to professional service firms
2021-11-17T17:03:48+00:00
I have had so many lovely letters and emails 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.
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Sherwood - consultants to professional service firms