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How does the 2024 pupillage application process work?

updated on 02 January 2024

Dear Oracle

Do I have to apply for all pupillage vacancies through the Pupillage Gateway or do some barristers’ chambers have different application processes?

The Oracle replies

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Where do I apply?

Candidates can submit pupillage applications on the Pupillage Gateway from 12:01am on Wednesday 3 January 2024, to 11:59pm on Wednesday 7 February 2024. Following interviews, pupillage offers will then be made on Friday 10 May 2024.

Most chambers require you to apply through the Pupillage Gateway, but some still ask candidates to apply directly to them. However, all pupillage vacancies are advertised on the Pupillage Gateway regardless of whether you need to apply separately, so this should always be the first place you look for opportunities. The pupillage vacancies advertised on the Gateway that require a separate application will clearly state this information.

When to apply?

Candidates generally apply for pupillage around 18 months in advance, although for some non-law graduates this can be just 12 months. This means that most of the pupillage vacancies you can apply for in January 2024 will be starting around September or October 2025.

An ideal time to apply through the Pupillage Gateway is during the second year of a law degree (or the third/final year for non-law students). These applicants can apply only to pupillages starting in two years from the date they make the application. If a candidate is in the final year of their law degree or is completing a law conversion course, they’re eligible to apply to chambers offering pupillages that start in one year from the date they apply. However, with stiff competition for a limited number of pupillages, many aspiring barristers must apply again during or after the Bar course.

You can submit up to 20 applications through the Pupillage Gateway, and as many as you like to chambers that require direct applications.

How to apply?

To apply for pupillage via the Pupillage Gateway, aspiring barristers will first need to create an account; they can also download a sample application form via the Pupillage Gateway website.

For Authorised Education and Training Providers (AETOs) – the education providers that are authorised to deliver the vocational company of Bar training – that aren’t using the gateway to recruit their pupils, aspiring barristers are encouraged to check the individual instructions of each AETO before making applications.

For more, read the Bar Council’s guide to using the Pupillage Gateway and search LCN’s list of pupillage application deadlines.