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The Pupillage Interview/Acceptance/Rejection Thread 2018 watch

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    Well, let's kick this off, for 'tis the season, my fellow sufferers.

    I'd suggest that when we first post, we tell everyone the area of law and the geographical location of where we're aiming. That way everyone will know who is in a similar position to them, and will keep and especially close lookout for their posts re deadlines, invites, offers etc.

    As we know from last year (well, I do; some people who were here last year got pupillage, and well done to them), this thread can run to hundreds of pages, so it should be useful.

    I'll start: I'm going for commercial / chancery / tax in London.
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    As with previous years, I'll try to keep scanning this thread to chip in when I can be of assistance, although that doesn't happen too often in these threads on the whole.

    For those who have general queries, you can always post in the AMAA thread if the mood strikes you (https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=3520355).

    And yes, I know I promised in the last thread that I would put up a post at some point with tips and information based on my involvement in the pupillage process from the Chambers side of things. I haven't forgotten, I just haven't had the time. Hopefully I'll be able to put something together in time to be of help to those making applications this year.

    Beyond that, good luck everyone.
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    (Original post by Crazy Jamie)
    As with previous years, I'll try to keep scanning this thread to chip in when I can be of assistance, although that doesn't happen too often in these threads on the whole.

    For those who have general queries, you can always post in the AMAA thread if the mood strikes you (https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=3520355).

    And yes, I know I promised in the last thread that I would put up a post at some point with tips and information based on my involvement in the pupillage process from the Chambers side of things. I haven't forgotten, I just haven't had the time. Hopefully I'll be able to put something together in time to be of help to those making applications this year.

    Beyond that, good luck everyone.
    Thanks as ever, your help is always much appreciated.
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    Good luck to everyone!
    I’m looking for London/south east and crime

    I guess let the waiting season begin...
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    Hello everybody!
    Well, quite honestly, I've wanted to post on here for several months now because, in the last round, I was lucky enough to secure pupillage but because of work and other commitments, I haven't had a minute. I have to say, securing pupillage has been the longest and most difficult journey I have ever been on but, on the other hand, I like to think that if I can do it: so can you. That is the reason for this post as I have been reading these threads for several
    years now, wondering if I'd ever finally manage.

    Following my undergraduate degree in Law, I passed the BPTC a couple of years ago and, since then, have been working in the legal industry
    conducting county court hearings. After a lengthy battle with rejections, interviews, asking myself whether I was ever going to make the cut, I was finally
    offered pupillage this year and I have to say that it was, by far, the best news I have ever received. I must say that for those who are not getting it straight away (like the majority of us and as was my case), I am particularly happy I didn't get it immediately because the sheer amount of time it has taken me to obtain pupillage, and the amount of experience I have gained to keep myself 'on track', has allowed me to be certain that this was the career I wanted to
    take. The reason I say this is because I remember in one of my first interviews, I was asked "convince us that you would be happy to go to our closest
    county court on a cold October morning". Quite honestly, I'd only been in a county court once at that stage and had no idea really what to reply!
    At the time of my last interview, I'd been in well over 50 different ones and was able to answer all these types of questions.

    Basically, from my experience, there are two things I think that are important to obtaining pupillage:

    1. Are you realistically able to obtain it on paper (the better your academia, the more chance you are of obtaining an interview but it is by no means the
    be all or end all!)?

    2. Commitment to the Bar- how much do you want this career? Most grad schemes pay well over 24k/year- I've been attending county courts for £30 and it's cost me more, sometimes, to travel there and back! I could have been offered secured employment, a grad scheme and - perhaps - paid off by uni
    loans by now but, personally, that is not what I wanted from my career. It is important, in the run up to your applications, to show your commitment.
    Mooting etc is all very well (I have done some and the majority of BPTC students have too) but, most importantly and whilst awaiting pupillage, are you
    doing your best to show your commitment to this highly competitive career? If you are- it will help you a lot and stand you in good stead but if you are not, then I would type in 'BPTC' in indeed and you'll find lots of opportunities.

    Anyway, I wish you all a lot of courage during this difficult process but I can guarantee you that it is possible- it's been very difficult for me but if you are
    committed, you will get there- it might take you 1 application, it might take you 100 but, as they all say, don't give up because, if you do (give up), you definifely won't get it!
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    (Original post by Mr. Henry)
    The reason I say this is because I remember in one of my first interviews, I was asked "convince us that you would be happy to go to our closest
    county court on a cold October morning". Quite honestly, I'd only been in a county court once at that stage and had no idea really what to reply!
    At the time of my last interview, I'd been in well over 50 different ones and was able to answer all these types of questions.
    Great to hear a success story and congratulations on securing pupillage. I know I've promised a thread on this, but I just want to pick up on this comment in the mean time, because this is important. A very common question in these threads (and from those seeking pupillage generally) is what Chambers are looking for. That is the wrong question. The focus should not be on what Chambers are looking for, but how you can develop your skills and become a better candidate. There is no shortcut to this process, and there is no magical one line answer to a question that will have Chambers rushing to offer you pupillage. You need luck, but you improve your odds significantly by taking active steps to personally improve. Whether you've just started out or have been looking for pupillage for years, your focus should always be on yourself and not on the barristers interviewing you.
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    Hi all!

    Very onboard with this thread.

    I'm going for EU / International / Commercial in London.

    Is anyone applying for LLMs/BCL in parallel to pupillage application? Is this recommended?
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    (Original post by AspiringBarista)
    Hi all!

    Very onboard with this thread.

    I'm going for EU / International / Commercial in London.

    Is anyone applying for LLMs/BCL in parallel to pupillage application? Is this recommended?
    I wouldn't think it can be "recommended" or otherwise, it's really up to you. Depending on your circumstances, you may have a year to fill before pupillage. You may as well fill it with a masters if you can afford it. Of course if you don't get pupillage for the next two years, then your applications on three years' time will hopefully have a distinction at LLM/BCL on them. That will help :-) But if you get pupillage now (or even next year), then it won't affect your applications, will it? It will just be the question of how you spend the year.

    I'm not applying because I can't afford it, but if I could I would; I'm sure it's worthwhile and interesting.
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    (Original post by Tom_Elliott)
    I wouldn't think it can be "recommended" or otherwise, it's really up to you. Depending on your circumstances, you may have a year to fill before pupillage. You may as well fill it with a masters if you can afford it. Of course if you don't get pupillage for the next two years, then your applications on three years' time will hopefully have a distinction at LLM/BCL on them. That will help :-) But if you get pupillage now (or even next year), then it won't affect your applications, will it? It will just be the question of how you spend the year.

    I'm not applying because I can't afford it, but if I could I would; I'm sure it's worthwhile and interesting.
    Thankfully, I can afford it. I'm using LLM/BCL as a back-up plan in case I don't get pupillage - very likely indeed - so I'm taking care with the LLM apps. I just wonder whether a failed pupillage app will preclude or prejudice an application for the following year? Most websites don't indicate one way or another.
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    (Original post by AspiringBarista)
    Thankfully, I can afford it. I'm using LLM/BCL as a back-up plan in case I don't get pupillage - very likely indeed - so I'm taking care with the LLM apps. I just wonder whether a failed pupillage app will preclude or prejudice an application for the following year? Most websites don't indicate one way or another.
    The only sets I know of which have such policy are Maitland (re-applying once only) and Keating (no re-applying if you've been interviewed -- but OK if you've been rejected on paper).

    As you may be able to tell, I applied unsuccessfully last year. I specifically asked every set at which I interviewed (apart from the two above whose policy is explicitly stated), and not once was I told that repeat applications were not welcome.

    They know the game, especially the sets for which you're going. By the time places like One Essex Court or Blackstone whittle it down to their final 10, they will get 10 people who all could be good pupils. But they can only choose four. It would not make much sense for them to bar those whom they deemed good enough for a final interview from re-applying.
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    (Original post by Tom_Elliott)
    The only sets I know of which have such policy are Maitland (re-applying once only) and Keating (no re-applying if you've been interviewed -- but OK if you've been rejected on paper).

    As you may be able to tell, I applied unsuccessfully last year. I specifically asked every set at which I interviewed (apart from the two above whose policy is explicitly stated), and not once was I told that repeat applications were not welcome.

    They know the game, especially the sets for which you're going. By the time places like One Essex Court or Blackstone whittle it down to their final 10, they will get 10 people who all could be good pupils. But they can only choose four. It would not make much sense for them to bar those whom they deemed good enough for a final interview from re-applying.
    Very good rationalisation. Noted, and I'm further encouraged to try the gateway this year. First time going through, so I'll be cashing in all my luck if I'm to be successful. Best of luck to you. Where will you be applying, if you don't mind my asking?
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    (Original post by AspiringBarista)
    Very good rationalisation. Noted, and I'm further encouraged to try the gateway this year. First time going through, so I'll be cashing in all my luck if I'm to be successful. Best of luck to you. Where will you be applying, if you don't mind my asking?
    Thanks, and good luck to you.

    I will be applying to chancery and tax sets first, and then the commercial sets via Gateway. I suspect my list will largely be the same as yours.

    One thing that I am doing this year is applying more widely. I only put in 14 applications last year (5 before Gateway and 9 on Gateway), but I came up short, so I'm casting my net wider this year. So where last year I only applied to the big three commercial chancery sets, this year I'm also applying to smaller / specialist places.
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    (Original post by Tom_Elliott)
    Thanks, and good luck to you.

    I will be applying to chancery and tax sets first, and then the commercial sets via Gateway. I suspect my list will largely be the same as yours.

    One thing that I am doing this year is applying more widely. I only put in 14 applications last year (5 before Gateway and 9 on Gateway), but I came up short, so I'm casting my net wider this year. So where last year I only applied to the big three commercial chancery sets, this year I'm also applying to smaller / specialist places.
    Okay, sounds good. 14 sounds like a lot - more than I was planning on this year. I'll see how I go with applications and might add some as a I along. Cheers
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    (Original post by AspiringBarista)
    Okay, sounds good. 14 sounds like a lot - more than I was planning on this year. I'll see how I go with applications and might add some as a I along. Cheers
    Many people put in a lot more. I suppose it depends on how strong a candidate you are. If you are truly exceptional, i.e. you have the top starred first of your year, plus some prizes, plus say you're national level at a sport, plus say something like an internship at the ECJ -- then you're probably guaranteed interviews across the board. If you have any less, then probably you won't get 100% interviews. It's just the way it is currently at the commercial / public / chancery Bar.

    I've asked my mini pupil supervisors at places like Essex, Fountain, Pump Tax, 3VB -- not a single one got interviews everywhere they applied. And they're currently practising successful barristers at those sets.

    I cab only speak from personal experience, and anecdotally from talking to people over the last two years. I have decent academics (non-law first, distinction at masters, some prizes and scholarships, a few publications in research journals (not student ones), distinction at GDL), but I was not interviewed at 5 sets of those 14. Academics are not enough unless you're a true star, because everyone has good ones.

    Your application form has to impress the reader overall, but it's hard to get it right. That's why I think it's sensible even for good candidates to put in more applications. But take all this with a grain of salt: after all, I do not have pupillage.
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    (Original post by Tom_Elliott)
    Many people put in a lot more. I suppose it depends on how strong a candidate you are. If you are truly exceptional, i.e. you have the top starred first of your year, plus some prizes, plus say you're national level at a sport, plus say something like an internship at the ECJ -- then you're probably guaranteed interviews across the board. If you have any less, then probably you won't get 100% interviews. It's just the way it is currently at the commercial / public / chancery Bar.

    I've asked my mini pupil supervisors at places like Essex, Fountain, Pump Tax, 3VB -- not a single one got interviews everywhere they applied. And they're currently practising successful barristers at those sets.

    I cab only speak from personal experience, and anecdotally from talking to people over the last two years. I have decent academics (non-law first, distinction at masters, some prizes and scholarships, a few publications in research journals (not student ones), distinction at GDL), but I was not interviewed at 5 sets of those 14. Academics are not enough unless you're a true star, because everyone has good ones.

    Your application form has to impress the reader overall, but it's hard to get it right. That's why I think it's sensible even for good candidates to put in more applications. But take all this with a grain of salt: after all, I do not have pupillage.

    V true. I made 14 applications for minis this year (admittedly, many of them were not aligned with my interests/experience) and of the 12 I have heard from, I received 8 rejections, 3 interviews and 2 minis. Not a great record but it was my first stab at them.

    I'm partially buoyed by the fact that a friend from uni (only slightly better academics) received pupillage straight off the bat. I don't quite fit the bill you laid out, but I'd say I have 2.5/4 of the assets.

    Either way, I've just checked my list of targeted Chambers and I have 9 listed: Essex Ct, Monckton, FTB, Brick Court, 20 Essex, 11KBW (if I get the mini, currently waiting on it), Littleton, Henderson, Matrix.

    Hopefully with a top 10%, ECJ Traineeship and football captain (intercollegiate) I should be in for a few interviews. What do you reckon?
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    (Original post by Tom_Elliott)
    Thanks, and good luck to you.

    I will be applying to chancery and tax sets first, and then the commercial sets via Gateway. I suspect my list will largely be the same as yours.

    One thing that I am doing this year is applying more widely. I only put in 14 applications last year (5 before Gateway and 9 on Gateway), but I came up short, so I'm casting my net wider this year. So where last year I only applied to the big three commercial chancery sets, this year I'm also applying to smaller / specialist places.
    I think this is a sensible course and it is one that I would advise everyone to adopt whether it is their first run through or not (and no matter what area of practice they want to go into).

    Apply everywhere that you would be happy to do a pupillage, not just to your 'dream sets'. There are only a tiny number of candidates a year who are so good that they are virtually guaranteed to get interviewed everywhere and to have their pick of which offer to take. I think in the year I applied (I am now a pupil) I made 12 non-gateway applications and would have made a couple more if I had not received an early offer.
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    (Original post by Forum User)
    I think this is a sensible course and it is one that I would advise everyone to adopt whether it is their first run through or not (and no matter what area of practice they want to go into).

    Apply everywhere that you would be happy to do a pupillage, not just to your 'dream sets'. There are only a tiny number of candidates a year who are so good that they are virtually guaranteed to get interviewed everywhere and to have their pick of which offer to take. I think in the year I applied (I am now a pupil) I made 12 non-gateway applications and would have made a couple more if I had not received an early offer.
    I agree. There are very small number of candidates who are so exceptional that they can reasonably afford to tailor their applications to specific sets. For everyone else (which is nearly everyone) it is eminently sensible to play the odds, and in this context means putting in applications to every set that you would be happy to accept pupillage at.

    On that point, there is another thing to mention. At the point of applying for pupillage most people have an idea of what sort of area of law or area of the country they want to practice in. Which is fine, but it is worth bearing in mind that there are different routes into what you want, and what you want may change. You may move sets, either because you don't get tenancy or because you want to move. Your practice may develop and go in directions that you couldn't predict. Here are some examples, all of which are good friends of mine, and all of which are about ten years call or thereabouts;

    - One got pupillage at a small regional set, was not offered tenancy, but was then taken on a by a much bigger (and, frankly, better) set. He is now in the Legal 500 for his primary area of practice.
    - One was looking for a civil pupillage, but was offered a family pupillage by a set after she said she wanted to do civil. She accepted, and now has a successful practice in family law. She'd never previously considered doing family at all before she was offered that pupillage.
    - One was absolutely set on doing personal injury, and still does. But along the way he happened to pick up a few inquests, developed his practice in that area, and is now considered an expert in inquests. I expect most people reading this didn't know you could have inquests as a specialism. He certainly didn't, but he does now.
    - One started doing a mix of crime and civil at a small regional set, and now does employment and commercial law at a much larger set after moving of his own accord a couple of years into tenancy. This is a more extreme example, but shows how things really can change.

    Ultimately things are not set in stone anywhere near as much as a lot of applicants think in this profession. Which is one very good reason why you absolutely should apply everywhere that you'd be happy accepting pupillage.
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    I ghosted this thread last year for chambers' updates and I wondered whether it would be feasible to collate the updates provided here into an easier to digest live-tracker. Would there be any interest in this?
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    (Original post by Loki)
    I ghosted this thread last year for chambers' updates and I wondered whether it would be feasible to collate the updates provided here into an easier to digest live-tracker. Would there be any interest in this?
    You will be most welcome at the Bar using terms like 'ghosted' & 'live-tracker'
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    Adding my best wishes here to everyone who is applying this year. I applied last year, got pupillage at a mixed set.

    This thread is incredibly helpful in terms of information output and being reminded that you are not alone in the panic/stress. However, this thread can also *cause* anxiety (!) so here are some tips that I hope will help: *highlight* - getting pupillage is not just about advocacy performance at interview, it is also about what you put on the form, research on sets, preparation, the competition, your temperament/personality and so on. Your task is to get it right on the majority of these things. And it can be done.

    First thing to do (especially when on this thread) is to stop giving a toss about the competition. You can't change the fact that getting pupillage is painfully competitive but what you can do is ensure that you don't allow yourself the luxury of wondering who is better/worse. Remember that many outstanding candidates never get pupillage. Stop comparing yourselves to others. Stop it! Right now.

    Next, focus ONLY on what you can do to be the best. This means knowing how to best present yourself and to address any deficiencies on your CV. If you make it to interview, they want you, but you *do* have to step up your game at this point. Also, don't be too selective in set choice, apply everywhere. It is a little bit of a numbers game, and most people need a few interviews before they really figure out how to succeed in this process. Don't lower your chances of succeeding by not applying to as many as you can. Also, if you are talking to someone who is not a junior barrister (say under 2/3 yrs call) do not ever complain about this process, for you will not get any sympathy!

    Third - recognise the fact that no 2 sets are alike. Each one, within the same field, places a different importance on X skill and will be assessing you accordingly. This applies both at the written stage as much as at interview. Written stage - look at the juniors, are there shared interests? If so, mention it and be prepared to back it up at interview. However, also know that sometimes an interview won't go well because you just don't "fit" the temperament of the set. This is part of life. A rejection does not mean that you aren't good enough.

    Now, at some point on this thread, there will be a debate about how to prepare. Everyone does it differently, so take ideas that will help and ignore the rest. I had a binder with most common Q/A's and it helped, but what did not help was when I attempted to do the same thing for common debate topics. By the time I got to final rounds I spent my prep listening to music that pumped me up - by that point I knew what to say and I knew how to reach an answer to those questions that you cannot prepare for. I also trusted that all my hard work would pay off. I personally believe that there is no such thing as over-preparation but know that the one question you don't prepare IS the one they will ask you about.

    Final point (esp for those of you who haven't done this process before) - interview offers don't go out all at once and chambers don't update gateway the way you think they should/could. Also, mistakes can happen. Just because someone has an interview doesn't mean that you're not about to get one. Stay calm.
 
 
 
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