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Bar Council announces launch of Pupillage Fair

Newsflash from: The Bar Council

Newsflash from: The Bar Council

Following my return back to Pupillageville from my August festivities, I have received an update and communication from the Bar Council in relation to a new directive for supporting pupillage.  The first ever ‘Bar Council Pupillage Fair’ has been announced.   This new incentive I hope will support the existing Pupillage Fairs, but importantly will encourage an additional opportunity for individuals to openly discuss and gain a wider understanding of both pupillage and realistic opportunities which exist in the legal marketplace of chambers.

I note that attendees can now register their place to attend the Pupillage Fair, so my recommendation is to get your name and place on the list for 21st November!


Bar Council announces launch of Pupillage Fair
Chancery Bar backs “all Bar” careers fair

The first ever Bar Council Pupillage Fair will take place on 21 November 2015 and will be a hub of information for students considering a career at the Bar and a chance to meet chambers as well as course providers.

Running alongside the Chancery Bar Association’s careers fair, the Pupillage Fair will be open to all chambers looking to recruit, irrespective of their specialism.

The joint fair, taking place at Lincoln’s Inn, will have representatives, workshops and information available from the Bar Council and other Specialist Bars about all aspects of life at the Bar. While many students may have a clear idea of the path they wish to follow, attending the Fair provides a unique opportunity to:

•    Learn about all areas of the Bar and ask questions to those in the best position to provide advice
•    Speak with representatives from different Specialist Bar Associations to provide the best insight into different practice areas
•    Speak with others who have been through pupillage or those from key committees who can offer advice about starting your journey at the Bar, and
•    Learn about the Pupillage Gateway, the online application system for pupillage operated by the Bar Council.

Philip Roberston, Director of Policy at the Bar Council, said: “Careers advice on how to become a barrister, which includes what’s required to succeed at the Bar and the challenges as well as the opportunities involved with the profession, is often hard to find.

“The point of the Pupillage Fair is to bring all that information, as well as people who can provide a wealth of guidance about a career as a barrister, under one roof. Students thinking about a career as a barrister can use the fair as an opportunity to find out more and help them decide whether the Bar is the path they wish to go down and whether particular specialisms at the Bar are of interest to them. As we are joining forces with the Chancery Bar this year, there will be a healthy representation from Chancery sets as well as exhibition stands, information and workshops tailored for all specialist areas. The fair is an excellent platform for students to meet chambers and course providers face to face, as well as a chance for chambers to widen their net in the search for potential talent.

“If chambers are serious about opening up pupillages to tap into a larger talent pool, the Bar Council Pupillage Fair is an ideal opportunity for them to do that. The fair also sends a clear signal to students that the Bar is open to all as a career.”

New updates on The Pupillage Blog…

Updates include the latest pupillage opportunities to chambers legal commentary

Updates include the latest pupillage opportunities to chambers legal commentary.


Over the weekend there have been major updates on ‘The Pupillage Blog’.

Current Pupillage Opportunities 2015‘ has now gone live and includes 16 differing sets of chambers offering pupillage opportunities.  In addition, a new feature has been added to the Blog entitled ‘Chambers Legal Commentary 2015‘.  This new page is incredibly important for any pupillage interview, or supporting those who are now working in chambers. The linked commentary provides a clear unfettered approach to compelling legal opinions, developing case law, succinct application of the differing legal disciplines along with general developments within law at the Bar.   The collection of linked newsletters and digests will be regularly updated and is designed to provide another supportive mechanism of reliable and compelling legal opinion.

Finally, whether you use either Twitter or Facebook, ‘The Pupillage Blog’ is updated regularly daily across both social network platforms, so as to support you whilst you are on the move with all the latest important legal news and views.

So until my next entry, keep watching the Blog as updates will be posted regularly.

As always,

Stephen AKA Justin Time

Normal pupillage service has been resumed!

Back again after a splash of paint....

Back again after a splash of paint….

After what has been an incredibly busy few months, I am pleased to say that normal service has been resumed! So please accept my apologies for the lack of posts upon ‘The Pupillage Blog’.  I am pleased to say that the Blog is currently undergoing a splash of legal paint and will therefore be updated throughout.  The latest pupillage offerings will be back online shortly, along with third six pupillage vacancies.

As usual, you will of course be kept up-to-date via Twitter/Twitterfeed or Facebook with all the pupillage opportunities, legal news, views and recommended legal reading and reviews. So until my next entry, keep watching the Blog as updates will be posted regularly.

As always,

Stephen AKA Justin Time

Happy New Year and a prosperous 2015 from Pupillageville!


I would like to start by wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and a prosperous 2015 from Pupillageville.

This last year has indeed been very busy in Pupillageville as my University lecturing has taken on a wider remit.  Nevertheless, the New Year Resolution is to ensure that ‘The Pupillage Blog’ maintains its continued presence in providing up-to-date news regarding both pupillages and legal news for those committed advocates at the Bar.

2015 will inevitably continue to bring differing challenges to the profession, both for new entrants and those who are firmly established within chambers. With an election looming, no doubt there will be further consolidation and thought provoking discussion regarding the position of public funding.  We shall have to wait and see.

Turning to ‘The Pupillage Blog’, I will be updating all the differing aspects of the blog during the next few weeks, so may I wish you all continued success and as the last of the New Year champagne corks and poppers fall to the floor with streamers abound, I raise a glass to you all and wish you a very happy and prosperous 2015!

As always

Stephen AKA Justin Time

Hints And Tips To Support Your Pupillage Interviews

Your subject... Why do you want to become a Barrister...

Pupillage Interview: Your chosen subject… Why do you want to become a Barrister…..

It’s that time of year again when aspiring individuals seek to attain their foot upon the proverbial ladder to pupillage, as they go before those hallowed Pupillage Interview Panel. Hours of sweat and tears go into preparation for the pupillage Interview, knowing that only a carefully crafted approach will aid to support the much sought after place in chambers.

It can often be very difficult for the would be pupil to attain both clear inspiration and direction for their interview, so I have decided to compile a supportive helping hand to give you some guidance for that all important date in the diary, the pupillage interview.

Be sure to view the associated links provided within the commentary, as this will provide clear examples so as to support and underpin the information provided.

From the outset, it is important to really do your homework on choosing the appropriate chambers.  Remember at the self-employed bar, that is what you are…. Self Employed!  So you have to make the right choice in choosing chambers, and in any event, a shrewd member of the Pupillage Panel will soon know whether you are really committed or cut out to be a part of their set.

A good starting point on your research pathway is to view the chambers pupillage brochure, (or if they do not have one, go and take a good look at the chambers website or chambers pupillage policy).  This is an extremely important exercise for a number of practical reasons, because it should address the following:

Finance and pupillage awards
This might sound obvious, but chambers will need to know that you are going to be able to financially afford pupillage and be able to survive the 12 months on the award given.  So, from the outset, know the award offered and ensure that you can back up both clearly and practically your ability to undertake pupillage without financial problems.

The Training
A good pupillage brochure or policy will be clear about the training being offered during pupillage.  Again this is essential knowledge to know before the interview.  In addition, it is a good idea to see whether chambers has a policy to encourage pupils during their pupillage year to undertake a limited amount of pro bono work e.g. FRU the Free Representation Unit.

Obtaining a tenancy, how are those offers made?
For any student obtaining pupillage, the goal will inevitably be attaining a tenancy with chambers. The chambers should be transparent on how any offer of tenancy will be made and of course their expectations of the engaged pupil. Knowledge of this prior to interview, will demonstrate to an interviewing panel that you have a clear understanding of the expectancies needed for pupillage and a working understanding of a pathway to tenancy.  However, if chambers appears to be a little vague upon this process, don’t be afraid to ask the question at interview.

Does the set of chambers operates a loan/income supplement scheme to ensure that new tenants receive an income?
Only too often, potential pupils are blinkered about only attaining a pupillage and are not forward thinking as to financing themselves beyond completion of pupillage.   Critically finances can be make or break when a pupil attains a practising certificate and offered tenancy. So again, see if this is offered at the chosen set and if not, it is another question to ask at interview.

Turning now to chambers itself.  For any interview it is imperative that any potential pupil has a clear unfettered understanding and knowledge of their chosen set.  A pupil will be bringing their applied legal discipline and skills to the table, so ensure that you have read and have a good working knowledge of all the barristers who will be practicing your legal discipline at that set.  This also helps in the preparation process in being able to answer questions about the particular set and why you made the choice to want to joint chambers.

Next, look at chambers recent cases both successes or otherwise and be knowledgeable about them. After all, there is an expectancy that you should have a good knowledge and grounding in both your applied legal discipline and future set of chambers, so be fully prepared to answer any pertinent questions about this at interview. Remember, in time if you are successful and go on to achieve a tenancy, these barristers will be become close colleagues and friends, so start as you mean to get on.

It is a good idea to have an understanding if possible of the pupillage process itself.  The Pupillage Blog has a section ‘Life as a Pupil’, which provides a good insight as to what to expect over the 12 months of pupillage. Equally, a large number of chambers websites now have dedicated sections to provide information about current pupil experiences of pupillage. Importantly, this will provide another view of the structured pupillage programme and again arm you with that all important information prior to interview.

As I mentioned previously, be prepared to answer questions about the particular pathway of practice you seek to engage upon.  Know the leading cases and where possible, the advocates concerned who were responsible for those successes within the courtroom.

Likewise, it is extremely important to be up-to-date with events and burning issues dominating the profession. In some areas of law, e.g. Criminal and Family, the profession is on its knees. So you will need to be very persuasive and very well informed as to how you will be able to demonstrably carve your niche at the Bar.

Addressing more practical considerations of interview. Where possible, I would recommend reviewing the selection criteria for chambers and the qualities that are sought within a potential pupil candidate.  Remember, it is the role of the Pupillage Panel to ascertain clear qualification of the required pupillage selection criterion and that it is openly demonstrable by any pupil at interview.

Typically the pupillage selection criterion may include the following, all of which may be individually scored.

Intellectual ability
Ability to apply abstract concepts to concrete facts
Ability to think logically
Ability to think creatively
Ability to think on one’s feet

Personal Qualities
Ability to work under pressure

Communication Skills
Ability to write clearly
Ability to communicate effectively orally with wide range of people
Ability to listen
Ability to appear confident, receptive and open.

To life at the bar
To the kind of work undertaken in chambers

Critically, a key consideration for the above criteria, would be to easily demonstrate how each of the criterion can be readily identifiable and that you able to provide pertinent suitable examples, so as to appropriately support the interview process.

Another tip is to see whether your selected set of chambers has any reports on previous interviews and interview rounds. This knowledge can often provide a clear insight into the interview process and the expectancies of chambers. This report from 5 Essex Court provides a clear unfettered example.

Today, most chambers will often ask pupils to undertake sample legal problems at interview (example 1, example 2).  This may take the form of advocacy, or provide a hand written solution to a problem question, or address a piece of drafting for court. In any event you need to be prepared but don’t be afraid. Remember, Pupillage Panels are generally more interested in your reasoning than knowledge of the law.

Ensure that your BPTC folders are well oiled and that you have suitable examples that you can rely upon, especially if you are required to run a short assessed bail hearing at chambers. In any event, I would suggest to always take a folder with relevant supportive material, which can be relied upon, even at short notice if required at interview. Likewise, ensure that you are very much up to speed upon all matters relating to professional conduct as inevitably this is likely to be tested!

An important part of any interview is the ability to demonstrate that you’re not just an advocate, but that you also have a life outside the Bar.  Be able to share with the Pupillage Panel your hobbies and perhaps some engaging life experiences which can draw out your character and personality.

Finally, remember, be yourself!  Pause, breathe, think then Answer.

Best of luck to all those on interview at this time and please feel free to feed back to ‘The Pupillage Blog’ on your highs and lows, successes or otherwise.

As always,

Stephen AKA Justin Time.