PUPILLAGE APPLICATION TIPS
A thread of helpful pupillage application tip tweets, collated into one easily read article.
View the original thread here:
Yes, there are a wide range of chambers cultures, practice areas and individual writing styles.
However, in my opinion there are some elements which consistently reoccur in high quality pupillage applications of all types.
Here’s my approach to securing numerous interviews:
What do you know about your chosen set which the other 500 applicants likely do not?
What have you discovered about chambers’ practice areas, clients, recent cases, business development, culture and recent triumphs which aligns with your future career aspirations?
Who has developed a practice that you would like to learn from and possibly emulate? How did they do it?
What have recent pupils been able to achieve which you envisage could be beneficial for your development?
Is there anything unique in the way that barristers at your chosen set work with their clerks?
What is chambers’ business model and how could you contribute to/benefit from it?
A standout pupillage application will give weight to both:
a) demonstrating your competency in all of chambers marking criterion, with relevant, compelling examples; and
b) your unique qualities and characteristics. What can you offer which is different and refreshing?
The question isn’t always the entire question.
Think: What exactly am I being asked?
In my view, the question is not the *entire* question…
E.g. “Why do you want to be a barrister” also includes:
- Have you given much thought to your long term future at the Bar?
- Are your motivations deep rooted or superficial?
- What do you find attractive about this career?
- Do you understand what a barrister does?
Word limits are a restriction, not a target.
Make your point succinctly, and where appropriate make the structure of your answers aesthetically pleasing for the reader.
(bullet points, numbered lists, shortened paragraphs etc)
Use of relevant examples to demonstrate competence.
In my view, it is not a competition about who has the most examples of their “brilliance”.
5 well deployed anecdotes which demonstrate your personal qualities are better than 15 vaguely relevant examples.
What is a well deployed anecdote?
In my opinion, it is one which:
i) identifies the relevant skill;
ii) clearly (briefly) sets out how and why the skill was utilised effectively; and
iii) ties i) and ii) back in with why you’ll be a great barrister and your understanding of the role
These are not merely words to fill space at the end of your application.
I know of some pupillage panellists who look at the interests section FIRST *before* reading the rest of the app.
A good place to start could be to ask yourself:
What do your interests say about your character?
How could they help you directly/indirectly with your work life?
What can your future colleagues expect from you as a person? You’ll likely be spending a lot of time with these people in your work and (occasionally) your social life.
Draft your applications early.
This gives you time to:
i) seek out people to review your application + offer feedback;
ii) reflect on how you have presented the form + make stylistic (or wholesale) changes; and
iii) avoid the last minute rush where mistakes are inevitably made.
It is not a question of quality vs quantity.
Finally, whilst quality is more important than quantity, the ideal situation is to have both.
Yes, quality should come first. But in part, this is a numbers game.
Shift the odds of success in your favour. If you are organised and started the process early, you have a better chance of:
a) identifying the chambers best suited to you; and
b) pumping out a good quantity of applications without compromising the content quality.
Hopefully those applying in this round will find this useful!
Do let me know if this helped with your application drafting process, and whether I should share thoughts on any other topics which might assist you in your journey.
Best of luck!