Pupillage stage

The final stage of training to become a barrister is a one-year pupillage. This is usually undertaken in a set of barristers' chambers, although it can also be undertaken with certain other organisations. Being a pupil is similar to being an apprentice when you will gain practical training under the supervision of an experienced barrister or barristers. At the end of the year you will be a fully qualified barrister.

Pupillage is divided into two parts: the "first six" which is a non-practising six months and the "second six" which is a practising six months. During the first six, pupils generally shadow their pupil supervisor, do legal research, draft opinions and other court documents, read their pupil supervisor's paperwork and observe him or her in conferences and in court. During the second six, pupils can take on some work of their own, under supervision. Sometimes if pupils are not offered tenancy at the end of the pupillage year, they may do a 'third six pupillage' (also known as squatting) at the same or a different chambers, in which they do their own work but are not yet tenants.

Various forms of external training, such as working for a solicitors' firm, marshalling with a judge or working with an EU lawyer can also count towards pupillage. Also, pupils are required to satisfactorily complete an Advocacy Training Course in their first six months and a Practice Management course in their second six. The Inns and circuits provide this training for pupils.

Obtaining pupillage is an extremely competitive process (see the statistics page). Candidates who don't get pupillage on their first attempt can reapply, but you cannot start pupillage more than five years after completing the BPTC. Candidates often spend the time before the next round of applications gaining additional legal experience.

The dates of the Gateway for the 2017 round are:

  • October 2016 - Gateway opens for chambers to begin adding their applications

  • 28 November 2016 - Adverts start to go live

  • 09 January 2017 - Gateway opens for students to submit applications

  • 06 February 2017 - Gateway closes

  • 2 May 2017 - Offers made

 

Pupillage Gateway

The Pupillage Gateway is the online application system for pupillage. All vacancies will be advertised on the Pupillage Gateway, and approximately 100 chambers will require you to apply through the system.

The Pupillage Gateway is a flexible and cost-effective way for chambers and Authorised Training Organisations (ATOs) to advertise pupillages and manage applications - making it easy for you to run a modern, online, recruitment process without a huge investment in your own system.

Managed by the Bar Council and provided by Jobs Go Public, the Pupillage Gateway collates all of your applications into one centralised system so that you can track the progress of each candidate's application, with assistance at every stage of the process. It has a bespoke design with improved functionality to support the high-volume application process for pupillage.

Candidates will find the Gateway simple to use, with user-friendly features, such as a wide range of search criteria, the ability to store data from previous applications and a longer window of time to prepare their applications through the use of an online practice application form. The Gateway will allow candidates to tailor their applications to individual chambers.

Please click here to view the Gateway which contains full information for both the applicant and chambers or ATO.

Following an extensive consultation, the decision has been taken to move the Pupillage Gateway Timetable to January beginning in 2017.

The dates of the Gateway for the 2017 round are:
  • October 2016 – Gateway opens for chambers to begin adding their applications
  • 28 November 2016 – Adverts start to go live
  • 09 January 2017 – Gateway opens for students to submit applications
  • 06 February 2017 – Gateway closes
  • 2 May 2017 – Offers made

Applying for Pupillage

For the first time this year, the Bar Council hosted a Pupillage Fair, providing a key opportunity for all students looking to further their career at the Bar to meet chambers and other organisations offering information and opportunities.


This is the only pupillage fair that is run by the Bar to ensure it is fully representative of the Bar. For full information, please  click here.

It is a Bar Standards Board requirement that all pupillages are advertised on the central pupillage website the Pupillage Gateway for a minimum of two weeks. This is an online pupillage application system operated by the Bar Council.

The Bar Council also has a Pupillage Handbook which provides an extra resource to view vacancies. The handbook has been put together to provide you with an additional tool to browse pupillage options. Please note that the Handbook contains all applications that are on the Pupillage Gateway, however, there may be some vacancies not listed in the Handbook.

The Pupillage Gateway is the central online application, although not all pupillages are recruited through this. Around half of pupillage providers ask that you apply directly to them, but all of the relevant information will be in the adverts on the central website. In the Gateway, there is one application round each year, and applications can be made to up to 12 sets. Applications are made in April, usually 18 months before you intend to start pupillage, although some are advertised to start in the same year. Students typically apply for the first time during their final year as a law undergraduate, during their law conversion course, or during the first year of the part time BPTC course. Offers are made in the summer in August.

For further information, please see the Pupillage Gateway. You should also look at chambers' individual websites.

Pupillage Fair

Pupillage Fair

The Bar Council Pupillage Fair

The Bar Pupillage Fair provides a key opportunity for all students looking to further their career at the Bar to meet chambers and other organisations offering information and opportunities.

This is the only pupillage fair that is run by the Bar to ensure it is fully representative of the Bar. For full information, please  click here.

Previous Pupillage Fairs:

Saturday 21 November 2015, Lincoln's Inn, London