Easiest area to obtain pupilage - for all - and also for me specifically:Watch
I heard Crime, Immigration and Family are easier and Commercial and Chancery are the toughest.
Regarding me specifically, which area of law is most likely to be keen or suited for someone like me, with the following qualities:
- Have won national ballet and contemporary dance tournaments and prizes
- Literature degree at Russell Group
- Write poetry and music
- Experience working in Marketing and business start-ups
- Debating* Union president
- Have taught ballet and poetry
- Have volunteered at educational NGO in Africa
Thanks for the help!
There is no easy pupillage, though some are less competitive than others. But even "less competitive" ones will be highly sought after; most sets get upwards for 30 applicants for a single space, sometimes many more. Your experience is all useful, but a couple of things jump out:
1. Crime and family are totally different, and immigration is different again, and there are many more areas than that. They are all very different in terms of the lifestyle, types of people you interact with, courts you appear in, and law you deal with. You really need to find out more about what job you actually want rather than just picking the easiest one.
2. You have no legal experience, and no pupillage will be won by someone who doesn't have legal experience. Luckily, getting legal work experience will also help you narrow down the answer to 1.
I don't mean to sound off-putting; I am just trying to warn you off approaching this in a casual or offhand way. Try websites like Chambers Student or Pupillage And How To Get It for a better idea of what the lay of the land is like.
Your years away from the Bar at the moment. Perhaps you should concentrate on getting the necessary professional qualifications first. Along the way, should you survive, you discover the answers to your questions. Whether you like those answers - well who knows?
The reason for that is that when building towards making a pupillage application (by which I mean obtaining necessary qualifications, work experience, and essentially laying the groundwork over a period of years to making yourself stand out) your focus must be you. You need to identify your strengths, your weaknesses, and areas where you can improve. You have to consider not only how to stand out on paper, but how you can develop your own personal and professional skills to stand out in interview. Students very commonly ask what Chambers are looking for, but that is also the wrong question because we don't know until we see the best candidates, and those candidates vary every year. The key to the process is to build yourself into a strong candidate with a strong application, and then eventually you will hopefully come across a set that is willing to offer you pupillage. That does entail a certain degree of awareness of what other candidates are doing and the sort of things that impress chambers on paper or in interview, but the focus must, as I say, be on yourself.
Part of building yourself into a strong candidate will be identifying areas of law that you may be well suited to, or which may interest you. It's difficult to be precise with that sort of thing, and practices are always liable to develop in unexpected ways when you get into the profession, but it is something that you will consider. It may be that there is something in your application that relates to a particular area of law, it may be that you have work experience in a particular area of law, or that you simply like the idea of a particular area of law. Either, way, you'll have something of that nature. You may also consider that certain pupillages aren't realistic because, for example, you don't have the academic profile of the elite London sets (which the vast majority of people don't). Or you might think that a top ranked set in Manchester isn't a realistic target for similar reasons. So there is technically some scope to target pupillages based on them being harder or easier to obtain than others, but that must be relative in reality to what your chances are of obtaining them, not how hard or easy they are generally to obtain.
And that's the point. You cannot start from the perspective that you have a weak application so you'll apply for "easier" pupillages. If you do that, you will not get pupillage and you will waste a lot of time and money trying. If you have a poor application, you either need to strengthen it by the time you come to applying for pupillage, or you need to acknowledge that your application is not strong enough and take another route. Acknowledging that you have a weak application but compensating for it by targeting "easier" pupillage will not work.
Which brings me to your application specifically. First of all, the points you've made in your post in this thread do not make you particularly suited to any type of pupillage. They are not legal work experience and they are not relevant to particular areas of law, so it genuinely makes no difference and will give you no advantage at all in pupillage competitions depending on the area of law. However, from your previous post your application does have a number of very significant flaws. Most notably, your academic are well short of where they need to be, and after finishing the GDL you appear to have worked in a number of industries not related to law. So not only do you not tick boxes that you need to tick, but you haven't taken advantage of your time working to build up relevant experience either. That's a major problem.
I understand that you have mitigating circumstances. To be honest it sounds like you've endured a terrible time, and you have my sympathy for that. But mitigating circumstances alone, even entirely valid ones, are not good enough in and of themselves. Mitigating circumstances explain blips in an academic record, but you still need to show what your actual level of ability is. You haven't done that, because practically all of your academic achievement is below the level that it would need to be for a pupillage application. That is a massive red flag for chambers, even if you do have a long list of mitigating circumstances. And even with that list, you're not going to get pupillage unless there is some evidence that your actual academic level is high enough. At the moment, you don't have that.
So in terms of your next steps, one option is to take the BTC. You will need to obtain a Very Competent at the very least, but honestly you need to be aiming for an Outstanding, and that is exceptionally difficult. After the BTC you'll need to obtain relevant legal experience to bolster your application, because even with a good BTC grade your application still has clear flaws. Your alternative is to go for a training contract (I understand you've been offered one), establish your career as a solicitor, and then transfer. That's not uncommon, but you do need to make sure that the time you spend as a solicitor you're building up a portfolio of skills and experience that will be attractive to a chambers when you come to transfer. An established career as a solicitor can mitigate the past issues with your application because they become so much less relevant once you have a career to show for your efforts, but your career still has to show that ability. That is still not easy, but is probably the best way to mitigate against the problems in your application that you have now. Because being blunt, your application is a long way from good enough now, and it would be wrong to suggest that those issues can be easily fixed. I'd never say never, but I'd suggest it's extremely unlikely that you can improve your application to the point where pupillage is a realistic target at this stage.
As well as echoing what Crazy Jamie has said, I'd also highlight that it isn't necessarily about it being easier to get pupillage in certain areas, but that they look for certain things. A Commerical or Chancery set is going to put much more emphasis on your legal knowledge and reasoning skills. A Family set may not be quite as focused on your academics, but they will expect you to have other skills and qualities that a Comemrical set is not going to mind as much about. Crime and Family are both going to be looking for you to be much better at advocacy and spoken persuasion, as welll as soft skills. Ultimatly all sets will want everything if they can get it, but they'll ascribe different relative importance values.