This blog represents my views and opinions. They are not necessarily those of any other member of my Chambers, none of whom contribute to the blog, or assist me with it.


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Friday, 4 May 2007

The Application

The key information is:

Your class of degree. I'm really sorry to say this but if you don't have an exceptional reason for your result then a 2:2 is no good. Yes, it's unfair. Yes, Megarry VC got a 3rd. But if you had to read 300 forms and throw 285 away and you could get rid of 190 by adopting this approach you would, wouldn't you?

Your geographical home if applying to the provinces. Local candidates still tend to get preference. If you come from Wales, why do you want to practice in Leeds? It's not as if our sheep are any more attractive surely?

What you want to do at the bar. Just on a personal note - if you want to be an advocate that's fine by me. It isn't necessary to specialise in contract law to get damages for someone who's had a crap holiday - although there are some snotty solicitors who say it is. What are their hourly rates? But you should have some idea as between crime/civil/family. Obviously, the more specialist the sets you are applying to, the more this information will have to be precise.

Why you want to do it at the type of Chambers to which you have applied. Don't be put off by the fact that the form is general. It's what fortune tellers call a cold reading - "you will get a tax bill from the Inland Revenue". So, "a mixture of practices means I can preserve my options as long as possible". Or, "I have wanted to ensure that as many armed robbers as possible walk the streets of Manchester since my Uncle Jimmy went inside".

Whatever makes you stand out from the crowd.


Anonymous said...

This may be slightly off topic, but perhaps you can help anyway, never mind if not, the rest of the blog is incredibly useful, thanks! I'm intending to apply for a scholarship from an Inn of Court and have been informed that even with a 2:1, there is little point in applying, as the criteria is 'outstanding' academic merit. Just wondered if you had any opinion on this?

Simon Myerson said...

Hmmm - that's a new one. I would be surprised if that meant a 1st, firstly because there are such a lot of awards and secondly because I know people who have a 2.1 (and whom I would not regard as academically outstanding) who have an award.
It may be that the particular scholarship about which you have enquired has different criteria. That should be ascertainable with a phone call.
Otherwise I would go for it.

Josephine Bloggs said...

I have a 2:1 and was awarded quite a large sum of money, so I wouldn't pay too much attention to any rumours putting you off. Beware of scaremongering fellow students also applying for scholarships: it's in their best interest to minimize competition!

And besides, the range of scholarships is so broad that even if you only get a small one to cover the cost of your membership fee or call it helps a little towards the massive financial burden of the bvc fees, as well as giving you something (else) to put in that 'awards, prizes and achievements' box. After all, if you don't try you'll never find out and if nothing else, it's all good application and interview practice in the end :)

Simon Myerson said...

I have made some enquiries at the Inns. Will post if and when I get a response.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, i have extremely poor A Level's and GCSE's, and everytime i attempt to have a glance at a Pupillage application form, the thought of Chambers placing my form firmly in the nearest bin, automatically comes to mind.

Am i just living in a dream world, or is there any real chance of me succeeding at the extremely competitive Bar?

I am currently on a 2:1 degree, and am hoping to push my grades up to a First, but even then, is there any chance of me getting my foot in the door?

Emily said...

I am also worried about not getting considered properly due to poor A level and GCSE's results. I have valid reasons for them, but do Chambers take the time to look at the the reasons?

Anonymous said...


I've heard that once a chambers has rejected you once they are unlikely to consider you for a pupillage again. Is this true? I have certain chambers that I would really love to join but am wondering whether it would be better to wait until after the BVC before applying, so that I have a better chance with them, therefore? What's your opinion?

Thank you for your time.

P.S. This website is great!!!

Anonymous said...

I've got 2.2 from a rather average university.
English is not my native, I am an immigrand and I've been living in this country for 6 years.
I don't have daddy's connections, which would help me to get a mini-pupillage or mingle with big B's on a barbecue party.
The list of I don't can be rather leangthy actually.
I won mooting competition in my average university, I was awarded with a scholarship from the inn, I do quite a bit of a volunteer work. Does it all matter? Frankly, after a number of applications for the M-P - I doubt it. The only one I've got was due to some connections I actually managed to establish. I suspect this is how generally M-Ps are obtained.

Do I have many chances to get a pupillage? No. In fact they are around 1 or 2%. What I do know, however, is that if I don't try to do everything I can to achieve it I will never be able to say to myself: "At least I tried..".

I applied for pupillage now and waiting for the results. Why? Because I do have a hope somewhere very deep inside that there is always someone first who actually breaks the code and becomes "how did he manage that? that was impossible!".

Thank you for your interesting blog, Simon.

Anonymous said...

immigranT - sorry, was in a rush

Anonymous said...

I have a 2.2 from Oxbridge does this make any difference in reality, or am I barking up the wrong tree? I have had interviews and second rounds at some good sets but when I haven't made the cut initially theny haven't re-interviewed me the next year.

Anonymous said...

I have a 2.2 from Dundee University and yes I accept your point that it's not good enough by itself I then went on to attain a Very Competent for the BVC and in fact graduated in the top 25 students of my year. There are reasons for my 2.2 degree which I will not post on here. Surely the VC has to count for something?

Anonymous said...

Hello there everyone. I read this blog and it gives my old heart a lot of hope. I received a miserable 2.2 from a not very good university but there were good reasons why I did so badly and also reasons why I only applied to that university and not to the red brick down the road. I am also over 40. Nevertheless, I have achieved a very substantial (although not enough to pay all my BPTC fees) scholarship from Middle Temple (love you MT) and a place at a London provider, the one and only place that I wanted to go. I have also just heard that I have been offered a mini-pupillage at my first choice set after spending a whole year sending out applications. Next month I also have been invited to a black tie dinner at the House of Lords as well as the scholars dinner at MT. I should not have really achieved any of this but I stuck to my belief that I can be a great advocate and the 2.2 will disappear from my memory when I pass my BPTC. Do not let anyone put you off your dream of becoming a barrister by scaremongering you into believing that you do not have what it takes. Do not by shy! Go to the courts and talk to the barristers there, they are a font of knowledge and willing to talk but only in times of lunch/tea/coffee/fag breaks. Try not to accost them just out of court or the robing room, they will not thank you for it. Alwats state your particular area of interest especially if it is a smaller area of the law that you want to practice. Good luck everyone and please, just believe in yourselves xxx.