If Pupillage Portal Doesn’t Work Then It’s The New York Bar

OccupyTheInns ponders the merits of a high risk, yet potentially high reward, plan B This week I have turned once more to the business of pupillage application as Pupillage Portal opened for its Spring season. There again were the familiar questions: “Why do you wish to become a barrister?”, “What areas of practice are you... Read more »

Killing Time In Pre-Pupillage Purgatory

Pupillage-less prospective barrister Jack Smith is wary of forking out yet more cash on a masters, but daunted by the challenge of landing quality interim legal employment in a difficult market With only a few exams and assessments before the end of the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), thoughts have turned recently to what the... Read more »

Bar Should Be Restricted To Russell Group Graduates

Why incur the cost and hassle of an aptitude test to limit entry onto the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) when there is a far easier solution, asks OccupyTheInns This week the Law Society warned the Bar off introducing an aptitude test to restrict entry onto the BPTC. You may not expect this from a... Read more »

Pupillage In The Provinces? Thanks, But No Thanks

London-based pupillage hunter OccupyTheInns thinks taking a position in the regions could be a bad move As time goes by, a dilemma that I find myself increasingly fighting with is whether I would consider pupillage in the provinces. I am well aware that there are many highly robust chambers outside London, where some impressive members... Read more »

Do Trainees And Pupils ‘Contribute Nothing’?

At 2.30pm yesterday Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge was beginning to panic. The arranged guest for the #RoundMyKitchenTable podcast – hosted by Alex and rising star lawyer Kevin Poulter – had pulled out. With recording due to begin at 530pm, what was Aldridge going to do? Grabbing his grubby laptop, the gutter legal journalist logged into... Read more »

Simon Myerson QC: I’d Rather Have a Coffee Than a Pupil

‘Pupils contribute nothing to chambers during their pupillage’, writes Simon Myerson QC, so paying them more than the £12K minimum makes no sense I like Legal Cheek and I like Alex Aldridge who runs it. Nonetheless, it has recently gone all tabloid on the issue of funding for pupillages, and I have told Alex so.... Read more »

#RoundMyKitchenTable Exam Special: How Do You Revise And Apply For Jobs?

Taking a rare break from revising for his Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) exams, barrister-to-be Jack Smith travels east to join Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge and employment law whiz Kevin Poulter around a Hackney kitchen table (pictured). “How do you get the balance right between studying and devoting sufficient time to pupillage applications?” Aldridge... Read more »

Time For Barristers To Put Hands in Their Pockets

Pupillage should be the test for Bar wannabes, not interviews – and wealthy barristers should pay, argues OccupyTheInns Rarely have I found myself nodding as fiercely in agreement as yesterday when I read Andrew Jackson’s proposal to raise the minimum pupillage award by having barristers effectively compelled to pay £3 a day towards the training... Read more »

Make a Difference: Sponsor a Pupil Barrister For Just £3 a Day

Andrew Jackson, a barrister at 5 Pump Court Chambers, has come up with a compelling proposal to raise the measly £12K minimum pupillage award I simply do not accept the fake hand-wringing about pupillage pay. "I wish we could pay our pupils more – they certainly deserve it!" is the typical barristers’ response when this... Read more »

Sloppy Reporting Obscures Bar’s True Pupillage Problems

A contributing factor towards lack of diversity at the Bar, and the oversupply of wannabe barristers, is poor reporting of the issues by the legal press, says Alex Aldridge For journalists, stats-based pieces can be a pain, because they require meticulousness and frequently more work than straight reporting of events. Often you just don’t have... Read more »

Minimum Trainee Solicitor Salary May Be Scrapped – Will Minimum Pupillage Award Be Next?

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has said there’s no regulatory justification for retaining the 30-year-old policy of minimum salaries for trainee solicitors. For legal geeks, the detail is explained nicely on LegalFutures. To summarise the practicalities: the scrapping of the minimum pay rule - currently £18,590 in central London and £16,650 elsewhere – would leave... Read more »


Follow @OccupyTheInns Unless the legal profession acts, an occupation of the Inns of Court could become inevitable, argues OccupyTheInns During the last few days I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that it is not currently a realistic objective to occupy the Inns of Court. It has become clear to me that it is simply... Read more »


Follow @FellowsAdam Adam Fellows considers the discrepancies between pupil earnings, and asks whether the Bar should bring back unfunded pupillages At Legal Cheek, the matter of pupillages has been getting a lot of attention recently. Two posts by jobless Bar graduate OccupyTheInns - one about ways of showing dissatisfaction with the lack of pupillages and... Read more »


Dan Hoadley and Alex Aldridge, both of whom trained as barristers before going into journalism (with Dan actually turning down a pupillage to do so), on why there’s more to life than practising law. Solicitor Kevin Poulter chips in with regular snide asides. Put your feet up, spread a strong-smelling takeaway across your desk, and... Read more »


Follow @AlexAldridgeUK Don't pursue a career on the basis of what will sound good at dinner parties, says Alex Aldridge Every month or so I get an email from a student asking for advice. Sometimes they want me to help them decide if they should risk going to law school without having a job lined... Read more »


Follow @LegalCheek Legal Cheek is watching you… Twitter put down of the week Rookie barrister @RupertMyers' empathy-radiating response to @OccupyTheInns' blog (which urged jobless law grads to occupy the Inns of Court). "My level of sympathy approaches 0. Might as well be an 'occupy premiership football' movement.” Twitter gag of the week This incredible video... Read more »


      Jeremy Hopkins, a practice manager at top commercial set 3 Verulam Buildings, and Benjamin Gray, a pupil barrister specialising in employment law at another London chambers, make the difficult journey from central London to Legal Cheek's Hackney recording studios (AKA podcast host Alex Aldridge's flat). There, having plied Jez and Ben with... Read more »


Follow @khan_sophie It's harder to get on in law if you're not white, argues solicitor-advocate Sophie Khan The August riots have forced the debate on whether there truly are equal opportunities for ethnic minorities in this country. Recent analysis by the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office into the background of those arrested have... Read more »