Direct pupillage applications are those made outside of completing a standard application form through the traditional Pupillage Gateway route. A direct application is preferred by most chambers as an alternative to the Bar Council’s Pupillage Gateway portal, and involves submitting a custom CV and cover letter directly to chambers where you would like to undertake a pupillage.
All pupillage vacancies have to be advertised on the Pupillage Gateway. Those vacancies advertised on the Gateway that require a separate application will clearly specify this information.
You can find pupillage application cover letter examples online, which will give you a starting point for creating your own cover letters. Online examples of good pupillage cover letters will give you an idea of how to structure your own, what to include and provide a benchmark for what makes a stand out cover letter.
You should tailor each cover letter to the chambers you are applying to. Do not use the same cover letter for every application. Your cover letter has to demonstrate what has attracted you to a particular chambers – it’s this that will help your pupillage cover letter stand out.
As a general rule, your pupillage cover letter should include:
When writing your cover letter, make sure you don’t waste words with cliched phrases like ‘I am the best’ or using reinforcers like ‘hugely passionate’ or ‘extremely dedicated’. Be clear, be concise, and most importantly, provide hard evidence of your skills using real-life examples.
When you are describing why you want to be a barrister, stick to the job characteristics and what appeals to you about the profession. In the section about why you are applying to your chosen chambers, demonstrate that you have good knowledge of what the chambers stands for and its culture.
In the section outlining your skills, stick to your academic qualifications and the law- and non- law-related experiences you have under your belt because this will help to support your aptitude for the legal profession. Don’t exaggerate and make sure you back up what you say with examples.
Your pupillage CV should be submitted in a format specified by the chambers to which you are applying – if applicable.
If a chambers does not provide a specific CV format or details of the information you should include, then you should stick to a traditional format when submitting direct pupillage applications.
A traditional CV pupillage application should include:
Provide your name, address, an email address and a contact number.
Keep your personal statement to a paragraph in length and write it in the third person. Your personal statement is an opportunity to showcase yourself and demonstrate your key skills, your personal qualities and how you can add value to the chambers you are applying to do your pupillage with.
Outline your academic qualifications in reverse chronological order – starting with the most recent. Make sure you include the type of exam you took, your grades and the academic institutions where you obtained your grades.
Add your work experience, starting with the most recent, and work backwards to your earliest work experience. For each work experience placement, include the following information:
Outline any skills that are relevant to those of a barrister. If you have IT skills or speak any other languages, you should include these as they are highly sought after across the Bar.
Your pupillage CV should feature details of any relevant prizes, awards, scholarships and other notable achievements. These can be academic, sporting or something else.
If you participate in extracurricular activities or you have hobbies that you feel are relevant to your pupillage application, include them. This could be a debating club, public speaking or research work.
If you can, include details of two people you can direct chambers to for a reference – provided that you have their consent to list them as a reference. Where possible, provide one academic and one non-academic reference.
In addition to submitting a CV and covering letter, you could be asked to answer some specific questions, requested by chambers, to support your application. For example:
Answering these questions could be a way to demonstrate your written advocacy skills by being creative and persuasive with your answers.
If you are faced with having to answer supporting questions as part of a direct pupillage application, remember the following:
Make sure you answer every part of the question. If you are asked ‘how, what and why?’, ensure that you cover each of these aspects.
If a question is specific to your skills, make sure you back-up any skills you list with examples of how you have used them and the result of you using them.
Where appropriate, refer to any legal or non-legal work experience, demonstrating any transferable skills you have acquired.
Focusing on the structure and detail of your CV and covering letter is important, but make sure to check it for spelling and grammatical errors. Equally, ensure that your application is addressed to the right chambers.
You can get a friend or family member to proofread all of your CVs and covering letters before you send them out. Alternatively, you could have your CVs and covering letters checked by a professional CV writer.
Make sure you keep track of your applications and deadlines to ensure that you don’t miss any, and to avoid sending the wrong application to the wrong chambers. Creating a timeline is a useful way to monitor the status of your applications.
Loading More Content