lawchick
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Hi guys,
I'm going into my final year of university (studying law) and intending to apply for Pupillage this year. I was just wondering whether anyone else has managed to obtain pupillage before commencing the BPTC (from final year of university) or whether some form of masters/legal interning for a year or two is the norm? I have mini-pupillages, some pro-bono and some mooting experience behind me.
Thanks!
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happyinthehaze
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Check out how very very very very difficult it is to get pupillage before you do all this - it really is very very hard - also the bar is caving in as a profession.

Sorry a bit of a dampner that didn't answer your question but I really suggest you do a tonne of research before going for the bar.

Barristers work really really hard also, if you get there .

(Original post by lawchick)
Hi guys,
I'm going into my final year of university (studying law) and intending to apply for Pupillage this year. I was just wondering whether anyone else has managed to obtain pupillage before commencing the BPTC (from final year of university) or whether some form of masters/legal interning for a year or two is the norm? I have mini-pupillages, some pro-bono and some mooting experience behind me.
Thanks!
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Nigel85
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The difficulty with obtaining pupillage before your finals results is often that you don't have any academic results which will make you stand out. The first thing Chambers look for is academics, and so it is harder to prove that you tick this box before you have done your finals. Lots of people obtain pupillage pre-BPTC (it is the norm in most commercial / chancery sets, though less so at the criminal and family bar) but they have often done non-law degrees, masters or other work following finals.

It isn't impossible to get pupillage in your final year of university, but I know of only one person who did so and I think generally it would only apply to somebody who had clearly done exceptionally well in their first or second year exams, so that they are already able to get references from tutors that suggest they are too good for Chambers to miss. Personally I would advise focusing on obtaining the best finals results possible, and not worrying about applying for pupillage yet,
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chalks
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(Original post by happyinthehaze)
Check out how very very very very difficult it is to get pupillage before you do all this - it really is very very hard - also the bar is caving in as a profession.

Sorry a bit of a dampner that didn't answer your question but I really suggest you do a tonne of research before going for the bar.

Barristers work really really hard also, if you get there .
What evidence is there that the Bar is "caving in as a profession"?


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nulli tertius
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(Original post by chalks)
What evidence is there that the Bar is "caving in as a profession"?


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I think actually the bar is at a tipping point. The figures for new tenancies were 2006/7 499 2007/8 494, 2008/9 497, 2009/10 467, 2010/11 541, 2011/12 335.

New entrants are just at replacement level. Over this period the private practice bar expanded by 5% but the suspicion is that this was in part due to delayed retirements,
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happyinthehaze
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(Original post by chalks)
What evidence is there that the Bar is "caving in as a profession"?


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Talk to any barrister. Google 'legal aid' and 'chambers closing' - perhaps 'caving in' is too strong - rather 'retracting and diminishing' -
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chalks
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Peers of mine who have been at the Bar for many years don't seem to be seeing that contraction and diminishing of their practices


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chalks
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....oops, pressed "send" before I finished typing.

Yes, there have been some high profile closures of a couple of legal aid dependant chambers (Tooks & Renaissance) but one swallow doesn't make a summer. It seems to me that, whilst the Bar is under pressure (as with much of the legal profession), it is premature to suggest that it is in terminal decline. Just as law firms have changed to adapt to differing commercial circumstances, so will the Bar. The legal aid changes have affected some Chambers, granted, but they are only a part of the Bar. Plus, the closure of a set rarely means those barristers are living under a bridge - many of the Tooks barristers joined MM at Mansfield Chambers if I recall.


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vnupe
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I agree... "caving in" or doomed (as some may characterize it)... is perhaps a bit hyperbolic... But there is evidence that it is contracting... As in life, adjustments have been and will continue to be made. However, I strongly suspect there will alway be a bar, as well as need for the bar. Though it may be in a different iteration/configuration.

The only advice I would give to a prospective entrant at any stage in their academic career is proceed with confidence, but temper it with a modicum of caution as well. Nothing and I mean nothing is promised on the road to achieving the title of barrister. Additionally get as much information about the profession including its current and future position, and then make an informed decision. There are vacancies every year, but only you can decide whether you think you have a realistic shot of obtaining one of those vacancies.
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vnupe
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(Original post by J-SP)
This is how I want to respond to so many of the posts on these forums. Those who have a balance of confidence, bags of determination, but the same time perspective and self-awareness are more likely to be those who meet or exceed in their career aspirations.
So true... Lots of well qualified people have a desire to be barristers etc... Bat how many have the fortitude to stay the course regardless of the obstacles... Because as we know, there are plenty of obstacles...

Additionally how many embark on their journey without doing the requisite research... Yes the courses and unis should advise prospective students of the pitfalls and arduous task of gaining a foothold into the profession.

However students owe it to themselves to also do their own research... To many people lament the lack of transparent information from these institution, but they can also mind/research these sources on a their own... Which coincidentally is a necessary trait/tool of an effective barrister... An informed decision is the best decision...
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by chalks)
....oops, pressed "send" before I finished typing.

Yes, there have been some high profile closures of a couple of legal aid dependant chambers (Tooks & Renaissance) but one swallow doesn't make a summer. It seems to me that, whilst the Bar is under pressure (as with much of the legal profession), it is premature to suggest that it is in terminal decline. Just as law firms have changed to adapt to differing commercial circumstances, so will the Bar. The legal aid changes have affected some Chambers, granted, but they are only a part of the Bar. Plus, the closure of a set rarely means those barristers are living under a bridge - many of the Tooks barristers joined MM at Mansfield Chambers if I recall.


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I think you miss the source of contraction. No 5 in Birmingham has over 200 barristers and two pupils a year. Generally speaking occupations do not die with their members being thrown out of work. Occupations die when there is insufficient new blood to keep them alive.
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