Developing your CV

A note on the difference between enthusiasm and aptitude…

When they consider your application, chambers will want to see evidence of both your enthusiasm and your aptitude. Of the two, aptitude is by far the most important and also by far the most difficult to demonstrate. 

Enthusiasm, while an essential aspect of your application, is very easy to demonstrate and, consequently, most other applicants will have it. Many of the experiences which would be sufficient to show your enthusiasm for the Bar have very low, or zero, barriers to entry – anyone can do a mini-pupillage (although the difficulty in obtaining a particular placement may be higher), anyone can go to a law fair, anyone can sign up for a moot, anyone can attend a lecture or even do an internship. Certain experiences will stand out by virtue of being unusual or being particularly competitive to get but beyond that, what makes your experience stand out is how you are able to use it as a vehicle for demonstrating your aptitude.

For example:

  • Getting involved in mooting shows enthusiasm. Winning a mooting competition shows aptitude.
  • Doing an internship with Liberty shows enthusiasm. Highlighting a case that you helped bring to court or reflecting on the challenges of educating members of the public as to their legal rights shows aptitude.
  • In interview, being able to reel off a list of cases relevant to an issue shows enthusiasm. Being able to offer insightful critical comment on a single case you have read thoroughly shows aptitude.
  • Doing a mini-pupillage, shows enthusiasm. Being able to discuss and critically reflect on a legal issue that arose in a case you worked on during the mini shows aptitude.

You will often hear people refer to ‘ticking boxes’: as in “I’ve got to do some mooting to tick the advocacy box”. It should in no way be assumed either that you HAVE to have done mooting to be accepted as a pupil or that pupils are selected simply by adding up all the “boxes that have been ticked” by their experience. It is vital that you have completed at least one or two mini-pupillages but beyond that, bombarding your form with experiences in order to tick all the boxes without addressing how they speak to your aptitude will not make you stand out as a sparkling future advocate. Carefully selected experiences with their relevance to your aptitude concisely explained are always to be preferred. 


Building your CV for pupillage applications is about collecting evidence. In your application form, cover letter and/or interview you will ultimately need to show that a) you will be a good barrister and b) you have a strong interest and understanding of the kind of work you will do at that chambers.  Both of these claims require evidence if they are to be believed and that is how you should approach decisions about which experience you should seek in order to improve your chances of pupillage.

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Current Legal Jobs

We will use this page to post job adverts for positions of interest to those seeking pupillage. We aim to update this page regularly when new positions become available.

If you are an employer and would like to advertise a position on this page, send us the details at

Opportunity: Volunteer Duty Advisers

Details: Duty Advisers offer assistance to those facing possession hearings in court. We have several volunteer places available. This is a perfect opportunity to gain experience in client interviewing, establishing a defence and representing the client before a judge.

Minimum requirements: Minimum 2:2 degree; BPTC/LPC graduates/current students - however, we will consider those who have completed GDL/LLB and not yet started their vocational courses.  The process is competitive so you will be assessed alongside other candidates.

Area: Land/property/housing - however advice frequently requires a broad legal knowledge base.

Further information: See or email for an application pack.

Deadline: Next cycle opens mid-July, please see website for further updates.


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Ongoing Opportunities

We will continue to post opportunities which become available on this page.

Opportunity Type Details Deadline Minimum Requirements Area  Further Information
Internship Amicus is a charity that provides legal assistance to prisoners on Death Row in the US. They offer internships of a minimum of 3 months. Interns assist defence attorneys. Ongoing A valid driving licence Crime Amicus Website
Volunteer Independent custody visitors check on the standards in which people are held in custody. Ongoing Over 18 Crime ICVA Website
Essay Competition The Times Law Award

This very prestigious award usually has a judging panel of gravitas; last year the panel included Jack Straw; Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the President of the Supreme Court; Lord Grabiner; James Harding, Editor of The Times and David Cavender, QC, of One Essex Court.

First, £3,500; second: £2,500; third, £1,500. Three runners-up: £1,000 each. The results will be announced at an awards dinner next spring.
29/11/11 Open to all students in any discipline registered with a UK educational institution    The Times Award
Essay Competition The Bar Council Law Reform Essay Competition.

Entrants are invited to submit an essay of not more than 3,000 words, which identifies and makes the case for a law reform that is desirable, practical and useful.

£4000 for the winner
£2,500 for the runner up
£1,500  best CPE entry
£1,000 for the runner up CPE entry  
October The competition is open to pupils, law degree students and Common Professional Examination, (including any Graduate Diploma in law course, recognised as a CPE Course) and Bar Vocational Course students in England and Wales.  All  Bar Council

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Reports and Tips

In this section we ask individuals who have won prestigious competitions, completed interesting internships or volunteered at the legal coalface to share their experiences and pass on tips.

If you have had any such experiences and would be happy to provide a short report similar to those below, please let us know at

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Working with TPP

The Pupillage Pages is once again hoping to broaden the ‘Interview Essentials’ section of the site by bringing back new legal news editors. Each editor will be given their own page where information on the most important news stories and judgments in five core areas of law will be posted.

We are currently looking for four legal news editors for the site in:

  • Public/Human Rights
  • Commercial
  • Family
  • General civil


Editors will be required to: 

  • Seek out stories of interest to those pursuing their area of law;
  • As far as possible/appropriate include short descriptions of the story/judgment (why it is significant plus any critical reflection) and a link to the full article;
  • Provide these stories in fortnightly updates on the site; and
  • Be reliable and accurate in their reporting.

We are seeking an initial commitment of 4 months (until OLPAS ends).

What’s in it for you?

  • Being up to date on your area of law is an essential element of your preparation for pupillage applications. In interviews you will often be expected to respond critically to questions on recent developments on your chosen area of law. Being a legal editor for the site will ensure that you keep up with this essential part of your preparation.
  • The position will also be an excellent addition to your CV, showing not only your enthusiasm for your area of law, but also your ability to pass analytical comment on the events and judgments influencing its development.
  • Finally you will get to be an early and important part of what we hope will become a key online source of information on the Bar.

If you would like to apply for one of the positions or have any further questions please email Katherine Lloyd at enclosing a CV and a brief description of your suitability for the post.

Deadline: Wednesday 16th May 2012

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