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How does the pupillage application process work?

updated on 07 January 2020

Dear Oracle

Do I have to apply for pupillage vacancies through the Pupillage Gateway? I'm confused about how the system works.

The Oracle replies

The majority of chambers require you to apply through the Pupillage Gateway online application system, while even those sets which require applications to be sent directly to them will have their pupillage vacancies listed on the system (these will clearly indicate that you should apply direct, not through the Gateway).

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 this January will be starting around October 2021.

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). However, with stiff competition for a limited number of a pupillages, many aspiring barristers must apply again during or after the BPTC.

The Gateway is open for a limited time – this year, from Tuesday 7 January to Friday 7 February. You can submit up to 12 applications through the Pupillage Gateway, and as many as you like to chambers that require direct applications. Interviews will then take place at chambers between February and April, and pupillage offers will be sent out on Thursday 7 May 2020.

For more, read this advice on writing pupillage applications by top QC Simon Myerson, as well as the Bar Council’s guide to using the Pupillage Gateway. Finally, LCN has a full list of pupillage application deadlines.