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Pupillage News and the Pupillage Interview Survival Kit

Guidance for the pupillage interview

As OLPAS opens the doors once more at 11.00 am on Wednesday 30th March, it is greeted with the news that NatWest have withdrawn the Professional Trainee Loan Scheme from April 2011, only to be immediately overshadowed by the news that HSBC has thrown its legal cheque book into the arena by offering a BPTC loan for Trainee barristers. In any event, I can’t help thinking that there is a certain inevitably about this, that in a time of austerity NatWest’s withdrawal of financial support for new lawyers cutting their teeth through bar school certainly will not help the ‘Bar’ in its continued pursuit of ‘Social Mobility’ and access to the profession.

But on a different note, good news this week comes from the direction of The College of Law as reading between the lines the new proposed part-time BPTC programme, subject to validation by the Bar Standards Board, seems to be both engaging and proportionate to the requirements of our highly competitive profession. The proposed course will include mock trials in Birmingham Crown Court with senior barristers and judges. Other essential training experiences include advocacy competitions, mooting and the direct experience of supporting clients within tribunals as part of a pro bono programme.

Now to more practical thoughts and advice with the oncoming onslaught of pupillage interviews.  As an advocate running a case, the success in any court room is fastidious preparation and to acquire a full logical comprehension of both sides of the legal argument, so as to be equipped to both argue and support the relevant legal issues at hand. To this end, the same is true of preparation for pupillage interviews and knowing the correct procedures and policies that chambers should employ within any conducted interview.

My recommended starting point to ensure that you are fully equipped in obtaining a transparent understanding and insight to the rules and regulations that are required to be in place with any aspect of pupillage, is the Pupillage Handbook produced by the Bar Standards Board. This publication is without doubt an essential tool for any individual embarking upon the path to pupillage.

Turning next to the Equality and Diversity Code. This document should be read from cover to cover as it addresses in detail the requirements that any set of chambers should be applying within the pupillage selection criterion. Examples taken from this text include underpinning the importance of an objective criteria within the selection process, short-listing for pupillage, composition of the interview panel and the expected training of the panellists to prevent poorly conducted interviews.

I hope that the above information and reading proves useful and over the coming weeks I shall be posting more support and advice to aid you on your quest.  In the meantime, I will of course be providing daily updates through Twitter.

As always,

Justin Time.

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