In order to practice as a barrister, on the successful completion of the Bar Professional Training Course you must undertake a pupillage. This is a one year “apprenticeship” or work experience with a chambers or other approved organisation such as the Crown Prosecution Services or the Government Legal Service.
Your pupillage year is split into two parts: a non-practising six months (first six) and a practising six months (second six). The first six months consists of shadowing a pupil supervisor and other members of chambers and usually involves undertaking legal research, drafting opinions and observing in court. During the second six months you may accept professional instructions. Pupillages are funded to a minimum of £12,000 per year, with some chambers paying upwards of £65,000.
Pupillages are highly competitive and are limited in number, so it is important for students to consider their options and applications before they commence the BPTC. Students must start pupillage within five years of successfully completing the BPTC.
A mini-pupillage is a short period of work experience in a set of chambers. Completing a mini-pupillage provides the opportunity to shadow a barrister and an invaluable insight into life at the bar. It may also provide some useful contacts to assist in finding pupillage. You are strongly advised to do at least three mini-pupillages before making pupillage applications. You should look at Chambers websites to see about applying to them directly for these placements, or look to see whether you are eligible for the Pegasus Access Scheme.
The Inner Temple offers other opportunities to improve your chances of being selected for pupillage. Schemes such as mentoring and marshalling, active participation in student and Bar societies can all benefit your application and also give you an advantage over other candidates at interview. Information is automatically sent to students upon beginning the BPTC.
The Inner Temple Education & Training Department run a Pupillage Advice Evening each February. More information will be distributed to all student members. It includes a panel of speakers from both the self-employed and employed Bar, followed by a reception that allows students who have not yet secured pupillage to network with junior barristers and discuss how they can improve their applications. For those who have upcoming pupillage interviews, consider the Mock Interview Scheme before your interview (see: Schemes).
For further information, please contact Paul Clark.