Obtaining a mini pupillage is critical to your success in your journey to becoming a barrister, so you have to make your mini pupillage applications stand out.
It’s important to note that most places are booked months in advance. Several chambers open applications from around November to January every year for placements commencing in the Spring and Summer months, so do your research!
Not every chambers offer mini pupillages, but those that do tend to guard their places carefully. After all, from the chambers’ point of view, it’s a substantial waste of their time, money, and effort to get someone into their chambers who has no interest in applying there at all, or who simply isn’t suited for the Bar. Paper applications are therefore important – treat them like mock pupillage applications. You have to demonstrate to the reader that you will make a good barrister.
Prior legal work experience looks good on your mini pupillage applications. Done any pro bono volunteering? Put it into your application. Written an article for The Lawyer Portal or your student law review? Highlight it. Read something remotely interesting in the chambers’ website news section? Summarise it in a sentence.
When completing mini pupillage applications, it is always important to check chambers’ requirements, some may require certain advocacy skills. This basically means have you competed in any mooting, public speaking or debating competitions.
Advocacy can also mean talking in front of people, so this may be demonstrated in acting classes for example, or through talking to large crowds, maybe you’ve taken a lecture or spoken in front of a class?
Chambers may ask for this as a requirement because they are looking for future pupils who have a strong background in advocacy and public speaking. This is a key skill for aspiring barristers as advocacy is one of the main roles of a barrister.
Looking for more information about mini-pupillages? Click here to read our free guide.>>
Mini pupillage applications are competitive, so presenting your legal skills and qualities succinctly and appropriately is a necessity. You must first establish what skills and qualities a barrister has. A barrister must be able to communicate effectively, a barrister must also be able to work independently and have excellent legal and commercial awareness.
These skills can be demonstrated through extra-curriculars or previous work experience, and so indicating these skills through your lived experiences in a cover letter is vital in obtaining a mini-pupillage.
We have a list of mini pupillage opportunities on our deadlines page. Check them out here:
Mini Pupillage Deadlines
Finally, you don’t need to be captain of the sports team or debating society to demonstrate how you are a leader or effective in communicating. All you need to do is provide examples of where perhaps you have gone above and beyond, say you have taken part in external competitions or implemented a new strategy to win.
Whatever your experiences are in, try to illustrate how they have provided you with the skills needed in a mini-pupillage.
Words: Oliver Jackson and Jessica Bognar
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