For chambers research:
Chambers Student ‘Chambers Reports’ – I’ve mentioned this before in my Essentials for Aspiring Barristers post, but it’s worth highlighting this resource again. It gives really helpful insight into life within different chambers and useful charts to contrast and compare different chambers by award, how many pupillages they’ve offered in recent years and so on.
The Pupillage Gateway – A bit obvious, but the Gateway is open to browse before applications open and it is good practice to have a look through all of the chambers on the Gateway in detail. Remember, many chambers are not on the Gateway so double-check individual application deadlines!
Law Careers.Net – ‘Barristers hub’ – LCN do fantastic work producing resources for aspiring lawyers, including the Training Contract and Pupillage Handbook (the bible for any aspiring barrister) which you should find in your law school. The ‘Barristers’ section of the website contains a bunch of helpful information to assist in your applications. Be sure to browse the rest of the site and sign up to the weekly LCN Newsletter.
Legal 500 Bar Rankings – The Legal 500 produce rankings for chambers and individual barristers each year and their ‘Set Overviews’ section can be good to figure out which chambers are leading in particular areas. This is especially helpful when you want to nail down a chambers core practice areas to tailor your applications.
Twitter – Stalk your favourite chambers on Twitter (if they have a page) and search the Chambers name to see the profiles of their members. You’ll most likely get a truer reflection of the work that members of chambers actually do and can gauge if the work relates to your interests. Top tip: Sign up for notification alerts the moment a chambers strikes your interest and this should be a good time before you apply. Then you’ll be getting a constant stream of news and updates from chambers, allowing you to pick up interesting cases to discuss either in your applications or later at interview.
To network with barristers working within your ideal chambers/area of law
Pupillage open evenings – Almost every chambers will host pupillage open days or evenings where you can go into chambers and mix and mingle with members. Take care to go to these kinds of events armed with questions you want answered. Be more creative that “why did you decide to become a barrister?” You should have a rough idea in your head about what you want to come away from that event with. For example, you may want to ask whether chambers has a policy on Pro Bono work or whether work in a particular area is likely to come your way as a junior. If you’re intimidated by the thought of going into chambers, particularly if you’re worried about fitting in, try reading my blog post on Networking as a Minority.
Conferences – I love going to conferences such as RebLaw and Spark21 because they allow me to hear from existing practitioners and ask them questions. These events are geared towards networking, so come armed with a smile, some business cards (if that’s your thing) and don’t be shy about introducing yourself to someone and striking up a conversation. You never know where you’ll find a mentor!
Qualifying Sessions – Inns of Courts’ Qualifying Sessions are underrated as a resource for preparing for pupillage. At these sessions you will meet various members of the Inn who work in different areas of the law. Like with networking, don’t feel afraid about introducing yourself. Your Inn is likely to have provided you with a mentor who will also be available for you to consult during the application process.
To figure out the content and structure for your applications:
Pupillage Podcast – From Middle Temple, hosted by Georgina Wolfe and Beatrice Collierof 5 Essex Court. The Pupillage Podcast is fantastic and I’ve been listening to it whilst editing my applications. It covers all aspects of the pupillage application process including the very basics about becoming a barrister. Follow the podcast on Twitter under the handle @pupillagepodca1.
Pupillage and How to Get It – This is another fantastic resource edited and produced by Beheshteh Engineer & Simon Myerson QC. The website is described as: ‘Containing advice from pupils, juniors, careers advisors, and senior barristers, the pupillage guide stands at c. 22,000 words and has taken almost 300 hours to produce. The aim is to demystify the pupillage process, and we hope that all students (irrespective of their background) will be able to benefit from it.’ My friends who use this site have sang its praises and I have also enjoyed using it.
BPTC Lecturer.com – Ishan Kolhatkar is a Barrister and BPTC Lecturer at BPP. His website contains a range of helpful resources for pupillage applicants, and I recommend it. Follow Ishan on Twitter under the handle @BPTC_Lecturer.
To demonstrate awareness of issues within the Legal Profession
It’s important to ensure that you are on top of the latest legal developments and have something to say if asked. As a matter of good practice, you should make it your business before, during and after Law School to receive news and updates from within the legal sphere.
Depending on the area(s) of Law that strike your interest, it may be worth seeking out industry specific updates. Don’t sign up for every update under the sun. They will clog your inbox and you won’t read any of them.
The Brief – The Times – “The Brief compiles the most important and influential news in the legal industry, delivered to your inbox by 8:15, five days a week.” My absolute favourite source of legal news and updates and it inspired me to start Legal Tea with B!
Inner Temple Library – Current Awareness Daily Digest – If there has been a development in the law, you’ll find it in this digest, delivered daily at midday.
UK Human Rights Blog – A fantastic source of commentary on the latest updates in the sphere of human rights. I really enjoy how well-written it is and it makes understanding the issues within any particular case very easy.
LCN Weekly Newsletter – This newsletter has everything and is geared towards law students!
I hope these resources are helpful!
Leave yourself good time to become well acquainted with the law and ensure your legal knowledge (particularly in the areas of law you wish to practise) is sharp. You will be expected to have a view on topics of the day (like Brexit) so don’t get caught out.