How does applying for pupillage actually work?

Dear Oracle

I'm about to begin applying for pupillage, but I'm confused about how the system works. Help!

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 site (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 2020.

Applications are made through the Pupillage Gateway in the second year of a law degree (or the third/final year for non-law students). The Gateway is open for a limited time – this year, from Monday 7 January to Thursday 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 Tuesday 7 May 2019 – and not before.

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. Good luck with your applications!

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