Constance Halliwell is an aspiring barrister who has undertaken mini-pupillages at Lincoln House Chambers and New Park Court Chambers. You can view her Linkedin here.
How have you marketed yourself in your CV and applications for mini-pupillages?
‘CV’s aren’t supposed to be too lengthy so I think it’s important to focus on the most relevant experience you have. This doesn’t mean you need to have lots of legal work experience though; chambers will probably be less interested in the details of every mini pupillage you have undertaken than they are in any voluntary work you’ve completed, for example.
Use any opportunities you have had so far and shape them in a way that makes them relevant to a career at the Bar. Anything that demonstrates good communication skills, the ability to research and public speaking experience is essential to include! Dividing your CV into categories such as relevant work experience or public speaking experience may also be a good idea.’
‘My biggest misconception…was that chambers are only interested in students with a first-class degree…’
What’s the biggest misconception you had about the mini-pupillage application process and what you have to do to stand out?
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‘My biggest misconception about the application process was that chambers are only interested in students with a first-class degree or who already have a place on the BPTC.
Academic achievement is obviously important but so too is demonstrating that you are passionate about a career at the Bar and how you’ve demonstrated this through activities and experiences outside your studies.’
‘apply for minis in a range of fields, not just the area of law you currently think you want to practice in.’
How do you manage your application strategy?
‘I think it’s best to apply to as many mini-pupillages as are available at the time and to spend a lot of time making each application personal – there’s no short cut! The more specific to the chambers and well thought through an application is, the more likely it is to succeed, and sadly, this can take a lot of time and research.
The best advice I got was to apply for minis in a range of fields, not just the area of law you currently think you want to practice in. Legal practice can be really different from the study of law and a mini is the best way to experience it before committing.’
‘A lot of chambers ask the same questions…’
What one piece of advice would you give a student trying to get a mini-pupillage?
‘Never doubt yourself and be persistent. I applied to countless Chambers before getting my first and the more practice you have at writing application forms and cover letters, the better you will get at it.
A lot of chambers ask the same questions such as “Why do you want a career at the criminal bar?” or “Why should you get a mini-pupillage at x chambers?”. Whilst it’s important not to duplicate your applications, you’ll soon get an idea as to how to answer questions and what your best selling points are. Never take rejection personally: what is meant to be will be!’