Questions about chances and how to become a barrister etc

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anonymouspie227
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#1
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#1
I would like realistic advice - I have been interested in law for a long time. However, I was encouraged to do a different degree by my traditional parents (think engineering etc).

I did graduate from university with a first class degree (top 10 + target) (2018). [not oxbridge]

And I have since gained extensive commercial/ corporate experience.

I am interested in becoming a barrister. I have applied for several minis and am yet to hear back. My cover letter structure has been (about the firm/ why the mini, about me skills, academics)

I am pursuing the GDL - and have received a place and partial scholarship.

Reading some of the statistics I am nervous about pursuing this path.
I have heard academic excellence is something required.

My first is not a high first class (71%) and my A levels are AABBa (subjects I was didn't want to do); GCSE's (Mostly A*s). Likewise, I've seen a lot about not getting a pupillage and tenancy etc.

Basically I do want to do this but I am looking for advice as to how to improve my chances and whether it's even worth pursuing.
Last edited by anonymouspie227; 3 weeks ago
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Crazy Jamie
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https://pupillageandhowtogetit.com

If you want to do more reading (and if you haven't seen it already), this website is a good place to start. It's been produced by a current pupil and a QC, both of whom were active members on here at one time, and it also incorporates advice from other barristers, including me. All barristers will give differing advice on pupillage (we all have different opinions), but that website is an excellent all around resource for you.

In terms of the statistics, the Bar is a very competitive field, and there's always a notable risk regardless of how strong you are as a candidate. It is not a career path that you should pursue lightly, and it really is very important to make well informed and realistic decisions in that regard. However, it is worth saying that the statistics are not quite as scary in practice as they look. The reason for that is that a good percentage of students who do the Bar Course each year are simply never good enough to ever become barristers. I have no idea why so many do that course when they lack the basic ability required to work in this area, but there we are. As and when you do the Bar Course, you will notice this about numerous people on your course as well, and you'll wonder why they're even doing it. So the figures are not quite as daunting in practice as they are on paper. If you are a genuinely strong candidate, your chances are better than the figures would suggest. That is, I will say again, not to say that it is not an intensely competitive area to get into, because it is. But I just think it is worth making that point about a fair number of the people who do not get pupillage.

As regards your position specifically, I don't really see anything that would look out of place on a pupillage application form. The A-Levels are pretty average but not to the point where they would be an active weakness in your application with the vast majority of sets. The First in your undergraduate degree is good, and will stand out as a positive. If you can come out with good grades from the GDL and BPTC your application should certainly be comfortably up to scratch academically. It depends what the commercial and corporate experience is as to how much it will help your application, but broadly speaking getting real world experience is usually a positive, as you will probably have gained relevant skills from it that help you to impress in person even if it doesn't play an active positive role in your application. But as I say, it will depend on what it is.

Clearly you're currently lacking in relevant legal experience, but you have time to obtain that. Applying for mini pupillages is good, but I wouldn't be disheartened at not receiving responses. Most sets are not open at the moment, and if they are they're running a skeleton crew, whilst most barristers are attending court sporadically if it all in person. So mini pupillages aren't really something that can be generally accommodated at the moment. When they, and in more normal times, they're not broadly too difficult to obtain. You might want to look into some sets that are specifically offering virtual mini pupillages and other online experience, but clearly real life and in person experience is more desirable as and when you can get it. Fortunately you still have plenty of time in that regard.

So yeah, at this stage I don't see anything in your personal circumstances that throws up any red flags when it comes to a pupillage application. Clearly an awful lot more goes into a pupillage application than you have articulated in your post, so I can't offer any definitive view on how strong a candidate you will turn out to be, but I can say that so far you've ticked the boxes you need to tick, with the commercial and corporate experience potentially offering something extra to your application that could make you stand out to a degree. Going forwards though you will need to focus on securing high marks in the GDL and BPTC, and then obtaining relevant legal experience and developing the skills and understanding that you will need to impress in interview and, ultimately, become a barrister. It's a long road and a difficult process, but from where I'm sitting there's nothing about your position that would make that unrealistic as a goal.
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anonymouspie227
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Report Thread starter 3 weeks ago
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(Original post by Crazy Jamie)
https://pupillageandhowtogetit.com

If you want to do more reading (and if you haven't seen it already), this website is a good place to start. It's been produced by a current pupil and a QC, both of whom were active members on here at one time, and it also incorporates advice from other barristers, including me. All barristers will give differing advice on pupillage (we all have different opinions), but that website is an excellent all around resource for you.

In terms of the statistics, the Bar is a very competitive field, and there's always a notable risk regardless of how strong you are as a candidate. It is not a career path that you should pursue lightly, and it really is very important to make well informed and realistic decisions in that regard. However, it is worth saying that the statistics are not quite as scary in practice as they look. The reason for that is that a good percentage of students who do the Bar Course each year are simply never good enough to ever become barristers. I have no idea why so many do that course when they lack the basic ability required to work in this area, but there we are. As and when you do the Bar Course, you will notice this about numerous people on your course as well, and you'll wonder why they're even doing it. So the figures are not quite as daunting in practice as they are on paper. If you are a genuinely strong candidate, your chances are better than the figures would suggest. That is, I will say again, not to say that it is not an intensely competitive area to get into, because it is. But I just think it is worth making that point about a fair number of the people who do not get pupillage.

As regards your position specifically, I don't really see anything that would look out of place on a pupillage application form. The A-Levels are pretty average but not to the point where they would be an active weakness in your application with the vast majority of sets. The First in your undergraduate degree is good, and will stand out as a positive. If you can come out with good grades from the GDL and BPTC your application should certainly be comfortably up to scratch academically. It depends what the commercial and corporate experience is as to how much it will help your application, but broadly speaking getting real world experience is usually a positive, as you will probably have gained relevant skills from it that help you to impress in person even if it doesn't play an active positive role in your application. But as I say, it will depend on what it is.

Clearly you're currently lacking in relevant legal experience, but you have time to obtain that. Applying for mini pupillages is good, but I wouldn't be disheartened at not receiving responses. Most sets are not open at the moment, and if they are they're running a skeleton crew, whilst most barristers are attending court sporadically if it all in person. So mini pupillages aren't really something that can be generally accommodated at the moment. When they, and in more normal times, they're not broadly too difficult to obtain. You might want to look into some sets that are specifically offering virtual mini pupillages and other online experience, but clearly real life and in person experience is more desirable as and when you can get it. Fortunately you still have plenty of time in that regard.

So yeah, at this stage I don't see anything in your personal circumstances that throws up any red flags when it comes to a pupillage application. Clearly an awful lot more goes into a pupillage application than you have articulated in your post, so I can't offer any definitive view on how strong a candidate you will turn out to be, but I can say that so far you've ticked the boxes you need to tick, with the commercial and corporate experience potentially offering something extra to your application that could make you stand out to a degree. Going forwards though you will need to focus on securing high marks in the GDL and BPTC, and then obtaining relevant legal experience and developing the skills and understanding that you will need to impress in interview and, ultimately, become a barrister. It's a long road and a difficult process, but from where I'm sitting there's nothing about your position that would make that unrealistic as a goal.
Thank you so much for the detailed response. It has been very helpful. I will look at the link you provided. My corporate experience is investment banking. I appreciate it might seem silly leaving the industry but I don’t want to be in IB
Last edited by anonymouspie227; 3 weeks ago
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