The Pupillage Gateway is already open for browsing, and from 5 January, prospective barristers will be able to start submitting applications for pupillage.
Competition for pupillage is fierce, so it’s imperative that your application stands out from the crowd. The best applications will have been researched thoroughly; here are a few tips to get you started:
Surf the net
Your first port of call should be the website of the chambers in question. Scour the pages to find out:
- Which practice areas does the set specialise in?
- What are some of the key cases the chambers’ members have been involved in over the last year?
- Who are the set’s main competitors?
Attend law fairs
Law fairs are a great way to meet people from, and find out more about, a set or chambers. This could be a specific pupillage fair, a law fair (for both solicitors and barristers) or a wider careers fair.
Law fairs take place at universities across the UK and are usually open to everyone, so you can still attend even if you’re not a student at that particular institution.
Before you attend a fair, make a list of all the chambers you want to speak to and jot down some interesting and thoughtful questions you’d like to ask them. Don’t ask obvious questions which you could have easily found out the answer to on their website!
If you have an interesting conversation with a representative from the chambers at the fair, be sure to mention this in your pupillage application. This will show that you’ve gone the extra mile to get to know the set before applying.
Autumn is usually careers fair season so keep your eyes peeled for one near you.
Before you start the vocational stage of your training (the course after your undergraduate degree and GDL, called the Barristers Training Course or similar), you will need to have joined one of the Inns of Court.
It’s up to you which Inn you choose, and your choice of Inn doesn’t affect which chambers you apply to or in which area of law you end up practising.
Your Inn will hold events throughout the year, from dinners to summer garden parties. These are a great opportunity to meet and make connections with barristers who are members of the Inn.
It used to be a requirement that prospective pupils attended 12 dinners at their Inn before they could be called to the bar. The 12 dinners have now been replaced with ‘qualifying sessions’, a mixture of dinners, lectures and educational sessions designed to give you the best chance of securing pupillage.
Look out for a further blog post on qualifying sessions on our website in the new year.
Last but not least, read The Legal 500 Future Lawyers Bar Guide. As well as providing you with all the key information and stats about different chambers, our guides give you an insight into a set’s culture, what you can expect to be doing day to day, and what current pupils and junior tenants have to say (anonymously) about their workplace. There’s no substitute for some from-the-horse’s-mouth feedback!
Good luck and if you have any more questions about pupillage applications, please get in touch.