Pupillage Applications – Handy Tips (By Sarah Lacey & Laura Duff)

Published on 18/01/2022

Pupillage application season has begun and you’re trying to navigate the minefield of securing pupillage. As daunting as this process may be, perseverance is crucial.

These tips are by no means exhaustive and reflect our own experiences and opinions of the process, but we hope they will assist you on your pathway to pupillage. 

The Application

  1. Read the information on the application page, it is there for a reason and will set out the whole process. 
  2. Do your research. There is a plethora of information on chambers’ websites, social media and blogs to help you understand more about their practice. We are sure that by this stage you will have heard this a hundred times over, but it really is important to personalise each application. A one size fits all approach will not work.
  3. Read the question. Be succinct and answer the question you have been asked and not the question you wish you had been asked.
  4. Do not just state your experience, explain what you gained from it and why it is relevant.
  5. Don’t just write what you think chambers wants to hear, as cheesy as it sounds you need to be true to yourself. 
  6. Don’t put down anything you couldn’t confidently talk about in an interview.
  7. It may seem obvious but ensure your working application is in a Word document. You will be safe in the knowledge that it will not timeout on the online application form and disappear.
  8. Check your application, check it again and if you can, get someone else to read it as well. By the time you come to submit your application you will have read it so many times that you won’t see the spelling error in the fourth line of the third answer but someone else might. At the application stage, chambers are looking for reasons to get rid of people because of the sheer volume of applicants. Don’t let a spelling or grammatical error be the reason that you didn’t make it through to the interview stages. 

The Written Exercise

  1. Not all chambers do this and not all do it at the same stage, so be prepared to do such an exercise at any point in the process. 
  2. There is really no set type of exercise that you might be asked to do. Opinions and advice are common choices so familiarity with this sort of work may help but it could be anything. Whatever task you’re given, make sure you are thorough. Know the law for this area inside and out and as with the application stage, check your work and check it again for errors. 
  3. Be sensible with the formatting of the document. You may not have seen this kind of thing before or know how it should look. If you can track one down to see what you should be aiming for then great, if not just do your best to ensure that what you produce is clear and logically set out. Use Times New Roman and font size 12. Now is not the time to experiment. 
  4. The length of time you will have to do this exercise varies from chambers to chambers. Some will require a very quick turn around, others will give you more time. Whichever it is, make sure you submit it on time. Set an alert on your phone or in your calendar, whatever it takes, just do not miss that deadline.

Good luck and be yourself.

Check back in with 12CP in the following weeks for tips on the interview process.