In the past month, a good number of us have wondered what to do post applications, well this is the answer. I am sure have been applying for pupillage, and getting highly distressed in the process. I say distressed as the reams of twitter feeds suggest just that. In this post we will be discussing what to do now the application window is over and what applicants should be considering as next steps.
Those on the Bar Course:
- Do not make further submissions unless already prepared.
- Focus on exams and getting ready for those,
- Apply for normal jobs after exams.
Having gone through the process myself, in reflection I do believe some of the steps I took could have been different. Firstly, you should not be applying for pupillages unless you already have applications mostly complete from before the bar course. The reason is that preparing for exams is enough pressure without having to worry about how to set out your experiences, it is possible to do but not necessarily worth the risk.
You might also have noticed that in trying to juggle applications and your bar course mean both have suffered. Consider that for applications to stand a chance they need to be well written, well evidenced, and well displayed. Without those features they will not make much head way, with those features they need spelling and grammar. I can speak from my own experiences, my applications on the bar course were a shambles, they were stressful to do and not prepared, what they did teach me is the importance of getting ready before hand, and I must say having worked in the bar I am also much better now at answering the questions. I do not believe it is easy at all to answer the questions if you have no or only minipupillages as experience of the bar. It is my opinion, if you are on the bar course focus on that for now.
On the undergraduate:
If it is your penultimate or ultimate year of undergraduate that is a good time to be applying for pupillage because most of the exams and essays are due in summer so you can put in the work. The added bonus is from experience you learn how to improve your applications. However, what does need to be remembered is that it is much harder as an undergraduate to evidence your experiences specific to the bar and far more easier for those of a solicitor.
Post Bar Course:
I tend to believe the best time to applying to the pupillage is after the bar course and undergraduate, that is because at this stage you will have the academic experience and hopefully the practical experience so will know if the work is right for you. By this time you will already have better time management skills, practical experience and know your grades so be better able to evidence them in applications.
Regardless of which of these three you fall into the best thing to do next is refocus on the task immediately in front of you, be those tasks: exams, your career or finances. The applications will have disrupted that so now is a good time to get back into the old routine. In a few months time you might also want to start working on the applications for next year as the chambers questions rarely change and with the time your applications will be much better.
Something else to consider is what to do if the application was successful. Now, assuming it was the inns of court, law schools and charities can help prepare you for the interviews. Even then, the pupillage can be in a year or two, if the later it might also be worth considering if you can transform your application into one you can use for normal jobs.