Pupillage! It’s the next step, after completing the vocational component, in a student’s progressive journey to the Bar.
The pupillage application process happens once a year which opens at 11:00am on or around 5thJanuary and closes at 2:00pm on or around 9th February. The majority of the chambers nationwide upload their pupillage information via The Pupillage Gateway in which students would be able to see information about each chamber. The maximum amount of applications that you can make via the gateway amounts to 20 overall. Most applications are made via the gateway but the website also lists down the chambers that do not apply via the gateway and provides the information for their application processes.
Access to all of this information is usually made open via the gateway on or around the 25th November of the preceding year to which you plan to apply for a pupillage. This article will provide advice on how to prepare for the application process, focusing namely on the Making a List and Research and Preparing for the Pupillage Questions part of the application process.
Making a List
Picking where you are going to complete your pupillage is a very significant aspect of the application process. It is significant in terms of, but not limited to:
- What the chambers are offering
- How many places they are offering
- What the law student would be doing during the pupillage
- The amount being awarded for the pupillage and the guaranteed earnings
- Where the chambers are located
- Contact information
- The legal sectors in which the chambers practice in
- The availability to become a tenant
- Further career opportunities
Once the Pupillage Gateway becomes accessible in November of the preceding year to which you plan to apply for a pupillage, you could start looking through the list of chambers and make your own personal list of where you wish to apply to. Doing this will give you a head start in the process and will help to unload a huge amount of stress in January when you start submitting your applications, as January is also the exam period for many law students.
Research and Preparing for the Pupillage Questions
For all pupillage applications made via the Pupillage Gateway, and for some chambers outside the gateway depending on what is required for their application process, there will be a set of questions within the application form known as the ‘Pupillage Application Questionnaire’.
The types of questions that would be included within the questionnaire vary between each chamber. However, from November you will be able to see information about the questions that you will need to answer whilst making your online application. Careful research and planning of your answers are key as they could, essentially, be the reason for why you may or may not have obtained a pupillage with that set chamber.
When it comes to problem questions that may be included as one of the questions, analytical research about the legislations, articles, case law and books within that specific legal practice area is crucial to ensure that you are providing an answer that will clearly identify your level of expertise, knowledge and understanding of that practice area.
Overall, preparation and careful research is so important when planning to start applying for pupillage. Other crucial parts of the application process are deadlines and dates for when, as a law student, you should start considering when you would like to apply. A general advice in relation to that statement would be to start applying whilst you are in your second/third year of your undergraduate degree.
I hope I have been able to provide insight into how City is helping me to prepare for my future plans and I wish you the very best of luck in your course and future.
Written by Olubusola, LLM Bar Vocational Studies student at The City Law School