Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Have decided against corporate TC. Do you reckon I could get a pupillage ? Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi guys,

    I'm a final year Law student. Being a barrister is not something I really gave much thought to at all. But I am doing as much research on the subject as I can now, and this is the path I want to pursue.

    (I had a Slaughter and May TC interview, but got rejected. I got a TC elsewhere. Slaughters was the only place I wanted to train, so I decided against corporate law)

    Positives;
    I have got A*AAB at A-level from a rubbish state school (which got shut down now)
    First person from family at Uni, poor etc. etc.
    I go to one of the top Russell Group (non Oxbridge) Universities.
    I have done corporate vacation schemes.
    I have got lots of fairly relevant work experience in politics.
    I got 68% in my second year of Uni. I'm on track for a first overall.
    I really, genuinely, fundamentally, at heart want to help preserve people's rights, and justice. I was offered a corporate Training Contract but its not the life for me.
    I am a pretty good/charismatic public speaker. I've done acting, hosted quizzes, done debating, had a few jobs where I need to talk in public.
    I'm very independently driven/focused.


    Negatives;
    I got a 2.2 in my first year of University, and some really average marks such as 52 in criminal law (I think this is what will really damage me?)
    I have never done mooting before
    I am really poor, so I can't really do the BPTC self funded.
    I have never won a debating competition
    I have no contacts with barristers etc.
    I have got no mini-pupillages/barrister work experience at all.
    I don't know if I will be able to get exceptional references.
    I don't have a niche area of law i want to specialise in. I like (general) human rights, clinical negligence, death in custody.


    So guys, what do you think ?

    Edit; the reason I post this is because truly I don't know how difficult it is to gain pupillage. It sounds like the toughest mission in the world to be honest. I have been so focused on corporate law, I lost sight of what I wanted to do. Now I realise I have a chance, but I need to be practical. If indeed, it is the case, that pupillages are only for first class Oxbridge grads then I need to know.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    It's difficult, but not impossible. You've identified some of your shortcomings. I personally would be worried most about the following;

    (1) No mini-pupillages; how can you truly say you want to be a barrister if you've never experienced life in Chambers? You also say you've had no contact with barristers etc. - Could you convince someone at interview why you wanted to be a barrister. Bear in mind they aren't likely to buy the 'really want to protect the rights of others' monologue.

    (2) No mooting; although not a requirement, it's quite hard to demonstrate, if asked, any advocacy experience that you have.

    My suggestions to begin with;

    (1) Get some mini-pupillages under your belt. Ideally 3+. I wouldn't even bother applying for pupillage otherwise. Hey, you might find being a barrister isn't actually for you once you spend some time in Chambers! Also, the fact you're securing MPs is an initial good sign that a particular set is taking some interest in you.

    (2) Try to get involved in some pro bono stuff and mooting. FRU is always good, if you can. CAB could be another example?

    Remember;

    (1) You don't need to be a 1st Class Oxbridge graduate. But you will need fairly strong academics (set dependent: some will pretty much only take on 1st class graduates, others are less 'bothered'

    (2) If you can't afford to fund the BPTC, apply for scholarships from the Inns. You will need to show a strong commitment to the Bar to be in with a chance. You will also need to show strong academics, good public speaking/advocacy skills. Etc. If you get a scholarship, it's a fairly good indicator you're pupillage-capable.

    (3) If you like commercial law, and this is the area in which you would wish to practise at the Bar, then be warned that commercial/chancery sets are often the most competitive for pupillage (though they offer very large pupillage awards, sometimes up to £80,000)

    (4) Any interviewer will look at the dates of your experience and determine you were probably focused on getting a TC, then changed your mind. Have a good explanation for the switch.

    (5) If you struggle to get mini-pupillages, don't get a scholarship, and/or have any qualms about your commitment to the Bar and/or your potential to get pupillage then it may be better for you to cut your losses! What I mean, is don't start borrowing money from commercial lenders for your BPTC without being certain.

    (6) Unlike with law firms, remember that Chambers do not generally fund the BPTC (though many will allow you to drawdown a portion of the pupillage award in advance). Some pupillage providers, like the Government Legal Service, do. So even with pupillage you will likely need an Inn scholarship to raise the cash.


    Hope that helps.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tsr_sleuth)
    It's difficult, but not impossible. You've identified some of your shortcomings. I personally would be worried most about the following;

    ---
    Hope that helps.
    Thank you for your help. Really appreciate it. Very helpful posts, gives a great idea of what i need to go on and focus on. Didn't really think about how key mooting is.

    I am focusing right now on applying for mini pupillages. It's a bit tricky because there's so much to sort out in terms of applying for scholarships etc. before November, and I'm very late to making this decision.

    I guess on paper I *should* have committed to the corporate world, but I know i'm not suited for it now. I would have been unhappy there. I need to play to my strengths. I would have forever doubted my decision if I spent my best years helping corporate's avoid taxes.

    I'm very reluctant to get involved with mooting. Not because I am shy, or I don't think I can do it, but its a very big time commitment at University on top of studying for final year. But I will definitely try to focus on my advocacy skills. Perhaps in the form of debating society more often, I'm not sure yet.

    I am considering working for two years doing a decent job where I can volunteer with the likes of CAB, saving some money and putting it towards funding the BPTC myself if I don't get funding.

    edit: the main question I have, is how personal should I be with my reasons for wanting to become a barrister ? for example, my brother went to prison for a few years when i was younger, many kids i went to school with got killed. i want to protect the rights of vulnerable in these situations too.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by kyizzzy)
    Thank you for your help. Really appreciate it. Very helpful posts, gives a great idea of what i need to go on and focus on. Didn't really think about how key mooting is.

    I am focusing right now on applying for mini pupillages. It's a bit tricky because there's so much to sort out in terms of applying for scholarships etc. before November, and I'm very late to making this decision.

    I guess on paper I *should* have committed to the corporate world, but I know i'm not suited for it now. I would have been unhappy there. I need to play to my strengths. I would have forever doubted my decision if I spent my best years helping corporate's avoid taxes.

    I'm very reluctant to get involved with mooting. Not because I am shy, or I don't think I can do it, but its a very big time commitment at University on top of studying for final year. But I will definitely try to focus on my advocacy skills. Perhaps in the form of debating society more often, I'm not sure yet.

    I am considering working for two years doing a decent job where I can volunteer with the likes of CAB, saving some money and putting it towards funding the BPTC myself if I don't get funding.

    edit: the main question I have, is how personal should I be with my reasons for wanting to become a barrister ? for example, my brother went to prison for a few years when i was younger, many kids i went to school with got killed. i want to protect the rights of vulnerable in these situations too.

    No problem.

    To answer your main question: If those are the genuine reasons you want to become a barrister, then that is what you should say. I don't think there is anything wrong with a personal anecdote, but you need to makes use it comes across well. If you can deliver it with conviction, you're more likely to convince someone that you're being genuine. With that said, however, in my own interviews, I never used a personal anecdote (I instead prepared a skills-based answer for that question) so I can't comment on their efficacy!
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    Read what Simon Myerson QC has to say about getting pupillage https://pupillageandhowtogetit.wordpress.com/

    Now read what the Bar Standard Board says.

    Finally look up the Legal 500 London Bar, choose some of the sets mentioned and look at the CVs - qualifications, experience and qualities their recently recruited barristers have.

    Do you measure up to the kind of people you see there? If not can you see yourself getting the experience which will make you stand out among all the other hopefuls? Have you got the personal qualities , the drive, determination, capacity for hard work, perspicacity etc. you need - can you prove it? Have you got prizes for your academics, mooting, essay writing? Have you got work published? Unusual and valuable work experience? Are your English skills excellent? Can you stand up to maybe years of rejection before you get pupillage? Have you got the self belief to fight your corner not only in pupillage interviews ( where you'll be cross examined by people who after all do it for a living ) but also maybe later on a daily basis where the opposing counsel, the judge, the jury, your client are all hanging on your every word .....??

    Remember a Barristers' Chambers may get hundreds of applications each year but only take 1 or 2 pupils.

    Mini pupillages are a must. Also try and get to shadow a judge. Finally you need to know that publicly funded law is in desperate straits - young criminal barristers may barely make enough to survive.

    Good luck.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    If you want advocacy experience go do some work for FRU. It's the real deal and actually sticking with it (hardly anyone does) looks far better than mooting. It's the only 'real' advocacy you can do pre-pupillage.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Have you ever participated in a Secret Santa?
    Useful resources
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.