Mini pupillages are, in short, the vacation schemes of the barrister world. That’s right, this means that they’re crucial forms of work experience that chambers would absolutely love to see on your pupillage applications.
As with any graduate job, not just those at the bar, your employer will expect you to have a bit of relevant work experience under your belt. How do you know you’ll like, or even be good at being a barrister if you haven’t had any experience of what it’s like on a day-to-day basis?
That’s why chambers allow wannabe barristers to undertake a mini pupillage. But what exactly is this?
What happens during a mini-pupillage?
It’s a work placement that lasts about two weeks. Participants shadow a barrister, learning what their work involves and getting to know the in’s and out’s of the system and building up a network of contacts. The more experience, the better, right? Right. So, if you shadow one barrister and then meet and interact with a couple more, who knows if they would consider you for another mini pupillage? It’s all vital for when the big time pupillage applications come around when you graduate (which is a lot sooner than you think, trust me!). When your pupillage application is assessed, having a mini pupillage or two on the ol’ CV will go a long way.
Applying for a mini-pupillage
Sound good? Thought so. ‘How do I apply?’ Hold your horses, we’re getting there… jeez! Most chambers will ask students to submit a CV and cover letter, though it wouldn’t be unusual to complete an application form too. You should mention your enthusiasm for law, why you want to follow a career path as a barrister (instead of a solicitor or solicitor advocate, for example) and be willing to touch upon the areas of law you find particularly interesting. You’re also expected to have researched thoroughly the chamber you’re applying to, with knowledge of recent cases and notable members.
For more on mini pupillages check out these bad boys: