Pupillage offers have recovered post-pandemic, Bar Council finds

The number of pupillage offers and applications are once again at pre-pandemic levels, according to a new report from the Bar Council published today.

The report uses data from the Pupillage Gateway, a recruitment portal owned by the Bar Council and used to advertise vacancies and recruit aspiring barristers for pupillage (paid training opportunities) at the Bar.

Mark Fenhalls KC, Bar Council Chair, said: “I am very pleased that the number of pupillages offered on the Gateway has recovered to pre-pandemic levels. The Bar Council is determined to continue its work, alongside the Inns of Court and Bar Standards Board, to ensure that as many pupillages as possible are available to all applicants who reach the required standard, regardless of their means and background. The report is a valuable resource for aspiring barristers, as well as providing those established at the Bar with an insight into the patterns and trends emerging at the gateway to our profession.”

The key points to emerge from the report are:

  • The number of pupillages offered on the Gateway appears to have recovered post-pandemic, reaching levels similar to those offered in 2019/20 (p. 7).
  • The total number of applicants during the 2021/22 recruitment saw virtually no change compared to 2020/21 (p. 14).
  • About 1 in 10 first-time applicants in 2022 received an offer (up on 2021, where it was 1 in 20). The data shows the likelihood of success increases each year of trying, peaking for those who apply for the fourth time to about 1 in 6 applicants (p. 17).
  • There was no evidence to suggest that applicants who did not study law at undergraduate level were at a disadvantage in attaining pupillage (p. 53).
  • Academic qualifications are the most significant indicator of successful pupillage applications. Candidates with a first-class degree were over twice as likely to receive an offer as those who attained a 2.1 (p. 52).
  • Applicants with a scholarship from one of the Inns of Court were three times more likely to receive an offer of pupillage (p. 53).
  • The number of unique applicants per Pupillage Gateway position has been steadily increasing each year (aside from the 2021/22 recruitment round, where there was a slight decrease in the average number of applicants compared to the year before) (p. 13).

Read the full report.

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