For anyone hoping to go to the bar securing mini-pupillages is an essential but daunting task, involving hours of preparing applications, dealing with covering letters which never sound right, and not infrequent rejection. Even when your successful experiences can vary wildly, and you’ll never know what to expect. However as someone who has grappled with this process time and time again, I’m hoping to give you tips on how to apply for mini-pupillages, where to find them, and advice on how to take advantage of these all-important placements.
To improve my CV and to learn more about the legal industry I embarked on three work experience placements this summer. Two were specific to law at Ward Hadaway and Crombie Wilkinson and one was at Macmillan Cancer Support in the Human Resources department.
In order to become a barrister one must first obtain (and successfully complete) a Pupillage. Pupillage is the final stage of training on the path to the bar and sees prospective barristers complete an apprenticeship before hopefully starting professional practice as a tenant at a barristers’ chambers. The competition for pupillages is intense, with near 20,000 applications being made for roughly 500 positions each year.
My placement in the firm’s Brussels office was an incredible experience! Everyone was welcoming and supportive, and there were many interns my age so there was always someone to talk to. I got to sit in the firm’s internationally renowned ACT team, looking at the work they were doing for a project I’d been introduced to during my time in London.
I am now reaching the end of my time on the DLA Piper Privileged Access Scholarship Programme, and I write this now having finished the Spring Vacation Scheme, and having received a Training Contract Offer to work at DLA Piper.
Prior to coming to university, I had only experienced high-street law firms. DLA Piper was the first global law firm that I had exposure to, and what immediately struck me was the down-to-earth and genuinely friendly nature of the DLA representatives - Heidi Thomas and Andrew Davies. I had never considered wanting to work for a commercial firm, and they really opened my eyes to the potential of working on exciting deals, alongside getting involved in Business Development and Pro Bono work.