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The Bar(19 Posts)
Hi, I have a DS who is interested in going to the Bar and to practice as a Barrister. What is the best way of getting around to this? He wants to practice in London as he was told that outside of London there isn’t a huge amount of dosh.
He studies classics at oxford and just got a very high 2.1 in his mods. (1st/2nd yr exams)
Start applying for mini pupillages. Do GDL followed by BPTC. Apply for scholarships for both from chosen Inn of Court and training provider. Do further Law Degree. Do suitable volunteering and experience in the area of law he’s interested in. Get pupillage - simples!
Except it’s not. Only the really dedicated get pupillage and he needs to start planning. It’s a military operation and you cannot do it for him. Start by looking at mini pupillages in chambers who specialise in areas of law he’s interested in. Criminal pays next to nothing anywhere. Living costs are huge in London and travelling to courts can be very time consuming and expensive. If he wants big bucks, chancery and land pay the highest pupillage awards, but mostly ask for first class degrees and have their pick of the very brightest applicants. Also start reading Chambers Student to get an overview of Chambers and what area of law he might be interested in.
Others will post who know more.
OP given that he's got another two years at Oxford suggest to him that he gets stuck in to as many of the competitive moots as he can. That will give him an idea of whether he likes and has an aptitude for advocacy. If he finds he enjoys it and does well then winning these things or coming very close looks very good on a CV and is helpful when applying for mini pupillages, which is the next step.
And yes, make a timely application to join one of the Inns and then another application for scholarships - unless money isn't an object. The training providers give out smallish sums, though we sneezed at nothing. It's going to be an expensive business, four years at Oxford then the GDL and the BPTC.
When I said start applying for mini pupillages, check when they want applicants. He might be too early right now. But planning a strategy is key and to begin with don’t worry too much about which Chambers because he should use it as a sifting process to see which area of law might suit and there is a ranking order of Chambers so consider that too. However he needs to be aware that when he gets mini pupillages, they are going to look at him during that week to weigh him up for possible pupillage so that week matters.
Also look at the web sites for all 4 Inns of Court (Inner, Grays, Middle and Lincoln’s) to get information about the training they offer. Look at their scholarships. Some are means tested and some are not.
The Bar Standards Board oversees training so look at their latest report on Barrister training and their stats. When considering which BPTC to take, I personally think London is best for networking but it costs a lot more. The scholarships from the Inns are important because holding one gives you a better chance of getting pupillage. They are competitive but if you get a major one, you have already shown promise and your Inn thinks you will succeed and is backing you with dosh! There are residential scholarships too. So get him to read up on all of this over the summer.
My DD wasn’t at Oxford and she was not allowed to moot or join in with everything legal at university but I would imagine Oxford is more sensible!
2019/2020 is the final year for the BPTC.
Look at the BSB website for information about the new options - as yet not very clear unfortunately.
My daughter has recently completed the Bar course.
She got a a first in law from good red brick uni, not a prestigious one.
Completed a Masters at Cambridge, then the Bar course.
Was fortunate enough to obtain scholarships from both the Inn of court and the Provider.
Has completed several mini pupillages, but no joy with actual pupillage yet, which is not unusual.
She has just started a para legal job with a firm that specialises in her area of law, so it's a matter of gaining experience really.
The money is not good, and you need to persevere.
At present she is bases in the North.
Many thanks for the information all! A question regarding mini pupillages- when should he be applying? He is effectively going into his 2nd year (3rd of a 4yr) of a non law degree. Can he apply for minis already?
No reason why he can't apply - he's two years into his degree. The more he can evidence an aptitude for the Bar the better. It might be tactical to apply to less good chambers for the moment to get experience and to save the more competitive chambers until he's got more on his CV to evidence a real interest and aptitude.
The money is exceptional - depending on area (both geographical and in terms of which area of law).
My D"s specialism is Public Law. It's not easy to get a pupillage in this area. She was fortunate enough, however to complete a mini at the top Chambers in London, 11KBW. She had to interview for the mini! At the end of the 3 days, she was given a case and had to be grilled on it. This determined whether they wanted to interview for the mail pupillage.
She was unsuccessful, but it was a good experience, and an illustration of how difficult it is to get pupillage in this area.
Quite a few Chambers state on their web sites about when to apply for mini pupillages. There are variations. They are aware that young people are not always sure what areas of law they wish to specialise in. It’s perfectly ok to look at a few that are not necessarily where you want to be in the first instance. It can also be useful to be available in reading week and other times if this helps get the mini pupillage.
I agree that many Chambers do use mini pupillages as a sifting for pupillage interviews. I don’t recall DD being interviewed for a mini pupillage anywhere and she did a huge number! She did get pupillage at one of them. Therefore it pays to get your face seen in as many suitable Chambers as you can. Also any networking helps.
Anyone without pupillage needs to think about what else they can do. Often doing research work or being a judicial assistant is of great benefit in Public Law. Look at the components of public law and see how she can get better experience in one field. Also consider employed barrister jobs.
I’m not sure how many pupillage are available in this area of law in the North. Is it more of a London thing? Obviously crime and tax isn’t just London but do northern chambers get instructed on constitutional and government cases? Might London be better?
I would also suggest she does more mini
Pupillages. She can apply for 10 pupillages through Gateway (I think) and others not through gateway, so where else is a possibility without going to the top Chambers where chances are not so good.
FANTINE. If you look at 11KBW, all recent tenants are undergrads from Oxbridge. Part of the game of selecting where you apply is looking at who takes red brick educated Barristers.
Yes, I know Bubbles, which is why she was surprised to be given the mini to begin with.
Not that many pupillages available in Public Law in the North, so she will eventually have to head to London
Yes FANTINE DD3 also does Public Law and has a tenancy. She was offered a JA job which she enjoyed hugely. Perhaps your DD should apply, Bubbles is absolutely right.
To be fair she was Oxbridge. But to be fair to your DD she's done the LLM after getting a first.
Thank you. I'm going to mention the JA thing to her.
She seems to be enjoying the paralegal job. She is working in the area of Public law, and it would seem that at this particular firm, the paralegals basically act as solicitors , but for less money of course!!
This is probably way behind where your DS is & sorry if it sounds trivial , but does he participate in Law Soc Bar Soc etc as DS said they had some interesting people to come and talk to them so advice to be given there ( and wine and chocolate) Ds did not do a law degree ( Oxford) but did well , just done GDL ( did well) so all - but no pupillage . He does have a scholarship / bursary thing for Bar school ( is that BPTC?) and will be doing that next year. That said , fortunate in that we live within striking distance of it so he can commute from home which helps with the cost.
He did various minis, did another this summer - also doing some other relevant work . Also mooting last year
It's very very hard and competitive and for all those whose DCs have had pupillage or tenancies well - I just say - well done indeed. It is hard and competitive. So DS is giving it another shot this year ( i.e. for pupillage ) and we shall see.
But best wishes OP
BTW Why does autocorrect think pupillage should be pillage - I mean I do not use this word normally & I know lawyers can have a certain reputation but never has my Ds shown any interest in even a mini pillage - and for that - even though no pupillage , I can be proud of him