‘We don’t even want to know your grades’: Is this the future of hiring pupil barristers?

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By Alex Aldridge on

Exclusive: Outer Temple Chambers has launched a new approach to graduate recruitment, which it is trialling from next month in conjunction with the Free Representation Unit (FRU). The “deliberately radical, blind process” will not require prospective pupils to provide A-Level or degree grades, the name of their university or any information about their extra-curricular achievements…

“We don’t care about A-Levels, we don’t care about degree result, what university you went to or whether you were captain of the debating society,” says Outer Temple barrister Naomi Cunningham, who is behind the experiment. “All that matters is that you have passed the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and have shown a practical commitment to pro bono work.”

Applicants will be shortlisted entirely on the basis of a test they download from Outer Temple’s website.

The pupillage itself is also unconventional, with the initial six months spent at FRU acting on employment and social security claims, followed by six months as a pupil at Outer Temple. This will be rounded off with a practising final six months at FRU. The total award, paid over the 18 months, is £22,500. This is lower than the £40,000 Outer Temple pays its two regular pupils, recruited through the standard Pupillage Gateway procedure, who focus to a much greater extent on commercial work. Funding for the Outer Temple/FRU pupillage comes via a donation from an unnamed private individual.

The closing date for applications is 20 August. The application form and test will be available here from 2 August. Cunningham says that she is hoping to recruit “a good, preferably excellent, candidate who has been overlooked by Pupillage Gateway this year.”