This is a Premium feature
The Bar(11 Posts)
does anyone have advice for someone who is considering a career at the Bar?
DS is a 2nd year classicist at Cambridge university and is considering strongly aiming for the bar
DD is a barrister and one of her closest barrister friends did Classics at Cambridge.
As DD is a few years down the line it’s a bit hazy but: apply for mini pupilages. Get a feel for which area of work: Family, commercial, human rights, criminal etc. Join in as much as possible with law related societies and events at university. Get work experience with a local solicitor and see if there is anything at your local court. Sit in at court.
After that, apply for the Law Conversion course. Volunteer on that. Or take time to do a MLaw. Look at legal research or even more volunteering. Apply for scholarships from chosen Inn of Court for Conversion course and then Barristers training course, or new version of it. Complete academic training whilst continuing to build cv.
Apply for pupilage before academic training starts or after. Depends when cv is up to speed. Get pupilage. Keep trying if at first ........ etc. Get tenancy with your Chambers or be spat out and do a third six.
I will post an excellent guide to this I found a few days ago.
It’s all very hard work but doable if you get your ducks in a row and aim for what interests you and be realistic.
Pupillage and how to get it. Google it. It’s better than my garbled post!
For clarity: volunteer whilst on conversion course. (Not actually on the course!) Consider MLaw degree at relevant stage. Possibly after bar academic course. The Bar Standards Board has lots of info as do the Inns of Court.
Is he on track for a 1st class degree? An Oxbridge first is the minimum entry requirement for many London chambers, but other pathways exist.
Bubbles advice is good. Also, Cambridge have an outstanding careers service for those wishing to enter the law. He needs to start there and will receive all the guidance and support he needs.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I am a solicitor as are my daughters so not an expert on the bar, but there are some changes coming up with the qualification route which I think apply from 2020 which I cam across this week www.legalcheek.com/2019/09/bpp-law-school-launches-new-two-part-bptc/ so do factor that in. (not relevant to your son but solicitors also have changes in qualification - very big ones - coming up with 2020 being a transitional year and new "GDL" type courses so currently it is quite complicated.
So he should look at the changes in qualifications/courses and secondly get ahead. My sons are interested in law and they need to apply this Autumn 2019 for training contracts starting in 2022 if they choose to go down that route and indeed anyone considering that should consider apply at start of year 2 of their degree for the paid vacation schemes law firms run in holidays. It is not essential and my daughter sponsored by a law firm at post grade law firm did not do one, but lots do. I cannot remember if barristers have similar things. My main points here are just two - 1. apply for things in time and work backwards 2. look at how the exams are changing.
Has he joined the Cambridge University Law Society yet? - if not then he should do so as soon as term starts. There will be an unfortunate number of unpleasant people (thinking future Tory Prime Ministers) but tolerating socialising with that ilk may be an important skill to develop.
Sometimes law societies at university are not open to non law undergrads so check that out.
Barristers need to apply for and do as many mini pupillages as possible. They last 3-5 days. Internships are not a thing with Chambers. Just going to one in Cambridge is far too limiting. It’s a chance for a variety of Chambers to see you and you to make an informed choice for which area of law suits best.
Some Chambers are way more Oxbridge oriented than others but DD doesn’t have a first from Oxbridge. If he gets this, great. If he doesn’t it’s absolutely no problem. Aim for Chambers where recent tenants don’t all have firsts from Oxbridge! The whole process about becoming a barrister is ticking the right boxes and ticking a few more you didn’t know you had to.
Most aspiring barristers don’t get a career at the Bar. Nowadays, the hurdle tends to be more at the pupillage stage rather than the tenancy stage but the principle is still the same - there is life outside the Bar and it is full of opportunities. Given that chambers both tend not to offer long internships and often go on about commercial understanding, I would suggest trying for internship opportunities at commercial (eg banking, accountancy or city law firms or whatever) firms to explore both Plan B potential and get some commercial experience. Remember, the experience gained on a minipupillage has no value in itself to a chambers beyond the fact that you were interested enough to want to do it, got selected for it and are still interested having done it.
My DD had two interviews for pupillage, both at Chambers where she had done mini pupillages. They DO look at mini pupillage young people and some Chambers offer very few of these. It can be a form of pre selection. She was successful in getting pupillage at one of them.
Yes to getting commercial experience if you need it. Ditto any suitable experience for your area of law.
Also quite a few of DDs friends have been spat out after pupillage by Chambers. Even gifted Oxbridge educated ones. One with a starred first from Cambridge. There is a huge churn now after pupillage and the “third six” is very common. Some pupillages are competitive and other Chambers rarely take their pupils as tenants. 2/10 sort of ratio. Getting tenancy is harder than you think Dustylaw.
The number of Barristers training each year is around 1400 with only 450 pupillages offered. People can keep applying so it can be around 3000 applying. Less than 400 tenancies taken up though. It’s super tough!
Join the discussion
Please login first.