By Christianah Babajide
Find out how to secure a Pupillage – from those who have done it.
With pupillage application season underway, three Hardwicke pupils respond to questions on Legal Cheek.
The Hardwicke trio tackled over 60 comments and showed their different perspectives on the application and interview process to aid Legal Cheek readers. Here are 4 key points LCR’s Christianah Babajide fleshed out from the live Q&A…
- Get a Mentor
All four inns of court offer a mentoring scheme which matches you with a barrister practising in the area of law you’re seeking pupillage. Being mentored is an invaluable experience that was highly recommended by King’s College graduate Louis. As a skilled practitioner, your mentor will be able to guide and teach you about life at the Bar. Louis, whose mentor helped him structure his pupillage applications, said his mentor helped him realise what sets are looking for.
- Stand Out
It is important to remember that barristers reviewing your application will probably be reading 20 others. Everyone has good grades, went to a good university and has legal work experience. What makes you stand out from the crowd? Clare, who graduated from Durham, suggested extracurricular activities or hobbies outside the law. For example, Louis is an enthusiastic tennis player and keen pianist whilst Clare mentioned she was an amateur chocolatier. It is not unusual for chambers to receive hundreds of applications for a single ‘pupillage’; an outstanding sporting achievement or interesting pastime might make your application stand out.
- Avoid Burn Out
The path to the Bar is long, competitive and challenging. It is easy for one to feel overwhelmed undertaking the BPTC, juggling extracurricular activities and holding down a part-time job. During the Q&A, Oxford graduate Simon advised against burn out. Don’t sacrifice your health for the sake of getting a pupillage. He emphasised the ultimate goal was to be happy, not to become a barrister at any cost. It is important to pace yourself and avoid taking on too much. Simon recognised the importance of doing law-related activities such as Mooting but suggested doing something outside law such as playing an instrument. As a pupil, he was able to find a balance and found this combination worked well for him.
- Practice Makes Perfect
The old adage “practice makes perfect” has been applied to many things in life and the same can be said for pupillage applications. It is a fact that doing something over and over again makes one better at it. Louis, who had about 15 interviews before pupillage, admitted the more he did, the better he felt they went. Clear, who made about 45 applications over the course of two years, found she learnt a lot each time. Her advice was this: the key thing to remember when stating anything on your application is to ask how it relates (i) being a good pupil/barrister and (ii) the chambers you’re applying to. Every sentence you write should link back to these two things.
I would like to leave you with this: becoming a barrister isn’t going to be easy and you are going to face dilemmas and get rejected, at least once. The important thing is your attitude towards rejection; do you allow yourself to wallow in self-pity or do you try again? The Hardwicke trio is living proof that you don’t always secure pupillage the first time around but they kept trying. If you take anything from this review, then take the word Persevere. Remember, just because you failed today doesn’t mean you won’t succeed tomorrow.
- Take a look at the Legal Cheek Open Thread in full.
- Read Christianah’s review of Legal Cheek’s Vac Scheme Thread