Got a mini-pupillage coming up soon? With the Bar being such a small place and entrance becoming increasingly competitive, simply having a few mini-pupillages listed on your CV simply does not cut it anymore. You therefore need to make the most of every mini-pupillage you complete.
What better way to gain access to the Bar than impressing the people that currently work there? Here are some tips on how you can prepare to impress.
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On my arrival at the Crown Court, I was almost immediately told to fetch some paperwork. Trial was supposed to start in an hour or so, but there were still changes in the case and therefore changes in the bundle that was going out to the jury.
My first lesson? You need to have both great speed and attention to detail to succeed in this profession, which is onedifficult combination. Still, the advocate I was shadowing praised me for showing spirit and carrying out the tasks with enthusiasm.
This advocate told me that his pupils were expected to do these tasks with quick precision. They are therefore impressed by mini-pupils who can manage paperwork without stressing out, which can happen quite often.
Whilst they may not trust you with this during the first day, you should engage with the advocate you are following and make it clear that you want to help out as much as possible.
Impress the advocate you are following by enthusiastically contributing with the paperwork and show that you understand that a career at the Bar does not only require advocacy skills.
2. Impress by showing interest in the smaller cases
During my criminal mini-pupillage I experienced a fraud case and an attempted murder case. The latter was actually very exciting, but these are typically reserved for highly experienced advocates.
I learned that whilst your first six will consist of assisting your pupil supervisor, the second six will consist of minor cases. Impress the advocate you are following by demonstrating motivation to work on these small cases at the start of your career. This applies to other areas of law as well (such as commercial and media).
They expect their pupil applicants to be realistic about the work they will do, so showing this understanding already as a mini-pupil will make them take you more seriously.
And if you are disappointed and deterred by this at your mini-pupillage, do not reveal this to the advocate you are shadowing! Remember that the Bar is a small place and you may come across them again even if you apply to a different kind of chambers.
3. Impress by being yourself, not whoever you think chambers want you to be
I know, I know – big clichè, right? However students do still try to portray what they think is the perfect applicant. Let me tell you something: they have seen it enough to easily recognise it!
Students often forget that mini-pupillages are also about evaluating whether they fit into that particular chambers. The only way to do this is to show your personality (whilst obviously maintaining some professionalism), not whatever personality you think the chambers appreciate.
Not only will being yourself help you calm down, but it will also help you find out whether the advocates working in chambers are the sort you would like to surround yourself with. Come pupillage interview, you’ll be able to tell them exactly why it’s their chambers you want to complete your pupillage in.