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LCN Says

Five tips for applying through the Pupillage Gateway

updated on 02 January 2024

Reading time: two minutes

The Pupillage Gateway opens on Wednesday 3 January 2024. Prospective barristers now have a month to apply for pupillage vacancies at barristers’ chambers before the Gateway closes on Wednesday 7 February. Meanwhile, some other sets have earlier application deadlines.

Here’s LawCareers.Net’s advice for producing polished pupillage applications over the next couple of weeks.

  1. Submit before the deadline

It's important to apply before the deadline because chambers will begin reviewing applications as soon as they come in. The rush of forms that so often come in on deadline day will contain too many rushed and half-hearted applications.

As recruiters continually tell us, even those organisations that don’t start reviewing applications as soon as they arrive will review them in the chronological order that they were received – so it really pays to submit early.

  1. Make every application unique

It's crucial to make the most of the time available to carefully hone applications. You must tailor each application to the relevant chambers before submitting. Recruiters will see through your copy and pasted work.

The best chance of success is to submit a handful of highly polished, targeted applications, rather than firing off as many as you can.

  1. Research

In order to achieve the above, you must conduct some thorough research. This doesn’t just mean scrolling through the chambers’ website and regurgitating the information they wrote back to them. You should also consult various publications and news stories.

Use your research to identify the strengths of the sets you've shortlisted and think about how you can demonstrate your interest in these particular areas.

  1. Avoid bad grammar and typos

While it sounds so obvious, many applications are riddled with poor grammar or typos. Don’t shorten a chambers’ name and always check that you've spelt the name correctly throughout the application.

If you’re worried that you’re not spotting any mistakes because you’ve spent too much time looking at the application, ask a friend, family member or a careers adviser to look at it with a pair of fresh eyes.

  1. Be yourself

There’s no point in fabricating experience in your application because, more often than not, you'll get found out, which will only make you feel silly. Be honest and open about your experience and where your interests lie – your genuine enthusiasm will likely shine through in your application if you’re being true to your actual interests.

More advice?

Some chambers provide application tips via X (formerly Twitter). For example, 5 Essex Court (@Pupillages) and Henderson Chambers (@HendersonPupils)share their advice and other useful information via this platform. Simply searching ‘pupillage’ on X will also open a whole conversation between barristers, chambers’ official accounts and the legal press on the subject.

And after applying comes interview preparation, so don’t forget to check LCN’s advice on pupillage interviews for tips on this most crucial stage of the application process.

Best of luck with your applications.

Niamh Gray (they/them) is the content & engagement coordinator at LawCareers.Net.