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Pupillage Applications: Hints & Tips

5th January 2022, 11am. A date that will be important for thousands of law students hoping for pupillage at chambers.

If you are one of those students, we want you to know, that there are hints and tips out there, but preparation is key.

The advertisements for chambers have already gone live and you can start browsing your way through. Now is the time you can start your practice application form ahead of the opening date.

Once 5th January arrives you have until 14:00hrs UK time on Wednesday 9th February to submit your applications. The full timetable can be found on the Pupillage Gateway website.

You can submit up to 20 applications through the pupillage gateway, however, each application takes time and must be focused on the chambers you are applying to. If by submitting 20 applications, you lose the essence of the application then submit less. You know the saying less is more!

Before filling in the application form; research, research, research. This is key. If you are interested in a chamber, look them up, research them. Look at what they look for in pupils. Find out interesting facts about them and make this known through your application. If you can show you have put the work in this will help strengthen the application. Talk about specific areas of law they specialise in and why these are important to you.

Some firms may even have pupillage application tips of their own. I have posted some below.

Keating Chambers – on this podcast version, if you scroll down there is a tips and tricks for pupillage applications and interviews.

Cornerstone Barristers – This website has a video version to watch with handy tips.

When writing an application, you need to make sure you make yourself stand out. Chambers need to notice you.

Whilst it may seem impressive to use cleaver and highly intellectual words, the most important thing is making you application and CV as clear and concise as possible.

Do not use words especially YOU do not understand. Whilst thesaurus may seem a clever idea, leave it where it belongs in the toolbar if you do not understand the suggestions.

All experience from exam grades to work experience should be in reverse chronological order, so starting with the latest date first.

Write down as much experience as possible; debating, mooting, volunteering, mini-pupillages, competition wins, anything you can think of to enhance your CV but do not falsify anything.

This tells the chambers about your academic record and experience. However, other students will be saying the same things. They will want to know things about you that will make you stand out. What makes you special enough for them to grant you, their pupillage?

Think! Have you performed in shows? Have an unusual talent? Have experience of working in a field outside of the law. If you can speak multiple languages, put this down. Write something that puts across your personality without being arrogant or vain.

Explain why being a barrister is important to you. Again, don’t make it generic. They will have heard it time and time again ‘because I’m passionate about the law because I saw this programme on TV. It needs to come from the heart.

Make sure you proofread your application form. Walk away once completed for at least half an hour before going back and re-checking it. Then get someone who is not in the law profession to check through it and if they do not understand it, there is no guarantee the person receiving the CV will.

Once everything is completed, breathe. Then go and do something that you enjoy. Once it is done, try not to sit and worry. I know easier said than done, but you’ve done your best and that’s all you can do.

Good Luck with your submissions for pupillage. We are all routing for you.

Written by Victoria-Jayne Scholes

OULS News Editor

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