Pupillage applications – how to do them?

Considering the successes of my earlier posts about pupillage applications, I am posting about how to get pupillage in more detail. 

How to challenge the decision? – a specific example

I once tried to persuade the Bar Standards Board that the IELTS requirement for the BPTC was unfair. Having been unsuccessful with this, I tried the European Commission under what was then Article 226.

First of all, I emphasised that, according to the report that allegedly had led to the requirement, both domestic and international students struggled with written and spoken advocacy. I argued that the requirement was so great that an English speaker would struggle with it. I also pointed out that the requirement was higher than in any other prestigious institution. Unsuccessful in obtaining evidence of actual numbers of international students after this the BSB had introduced this benchmark, I tried further. Therefore, I also argued that the requirement would not meet the test of proportionality. This was so because universities and BVC providers could adopt lesser measures to ensure that the standards were high, i.e. ongoing language support or introductory language courses. 

Even though I lost in both instances, and after some time, the BSB waived the requirement. This was so as it was inconsistent with EU law. I learned that, no matter how good the substance of your argument is, your position in society is always something that matters more.

Top reasons to become a barrister 

  1. Exposure to intellectually stimulating work
  2. Exposure to advocacy 
  3. Vocational element of the profession – people needing representation 
  4. Social element of the profession – circulating among highly driven people
  5. Ability to combine advocacy with research activity 

Personal project 

I am working on a novel that tells the story of a Polish student who aspires to the Bar. The main protagonist, Izabela, is mentally ill and unsuccessfully tries to appeal her detention in a mental hospital. The novel portrays the deficiencies of the system. The tribunal does not allow her to comment on her notes and all the staff are antagonistic towards her due to her nationality. The story portrays the English legal system from the perspective of an outsider – someone pursuing legal studies, a woman in a patriarchal world, a woman suffering a mental breakdown, a Polish woman in England.

The book aims to portray the law’s inadequacies and society’s inadequacies. It also aims to depict a long held fascination with the legal system, its quirks and customs. My novel has a strong sense of place, from the courtroom dramas to the claustrophobia of chambers. It skewers the legal world, the British class system, the conflicts and differences between the barristers and their backgrounds.

Challenges and success at work place

While working at Camps Solicitors, I was the least experienced in the team. For this reason, I had to work closely with others to exchange necessary information. We also had to arrange for the most demanding clients to speak with the appropriate person. This was challenging at times, when someone made a mistake and the professional image of the firm was at stake. I was very cautious in advising any clients on issues not familiar to me. However, I was able to create a stable working relationship with my co-workers, where they were happy to assist me. 

I once worked very hard to secure an interim payment for a client. From the start, my co-workers discouraged me in doing this. That sort of remedies in road traffic accidents are very difficult to secure. Therefore, I had to enquire with our line manager. The client had an ongoing medical condition and I succeeded after a number of other enquiries with a third party.

Check some of my other posts about pupillage.