I have graduated from UoB with a degree in LLB Law and French in 2019. I had a great 4 years at UoB, and a large part of that was thanks to Bar Soc.
I have just finished the BPTC at UWE, which is the next stage for a career at the Bar. I was lucky enough to secure a Pupillage at my dream set of Chambers during my final year at UoB, which I will be starting in 2021 - very nerve-racking but exciting!
I honestly don’t think I would have got here without some very supportive tutors, friends and fellow members of Bar Soc. I mainly got involved in Bar Soc in my second year. Although I had wanted to become a Barrister before going to university, I think some of the myths about the Bar scared me off during my first-year (such as it’s not for kids from state schools or you have to speak in a certain way). I quickly realised I did not want to become a Solicitor, and am very glad that Bar Soc was there to show me that a career at the Bar was achievable! By second-year, my determination to become a Barrister had returned. I threw myself into most of the mooting and advocacy opportunities available with the aim of bolstering the advocacy section on my CV, as well as learning as much about the Bar as I possibly could.
Also, coming to university without any connections in the legal world was very daunting; but Bar Soc soon fixed that. I networked as much as I could at events with local Barristers or those from London who came to give talks or judge the advocacy competitions. By the time I left UoB, I had a brilliant contact list of people whom I knew I could rely on if I needed some advice or help.
One of my biggest pieces of advice for those who are aiming for a career at the Bar is stay focused and engage with as much as you can that can help you get there. Bar Soc is a great resource for advice, so make the most of it! I was very fortunate to be on the Committee in my final year, and found it to be a lovely and supportive Society, where everyone knows everyone.
When considering applying for the BPTC, be sure to apply for a scholarship from one of the Inns of Courts. The course is eye-wateringly expensive, and I know that without the generous scholarship I received from the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, I would not have been able to afford it. Bar Soc has a great relationship with the Inns, and the Inns genuinely do want to help those who want to go to the Bar! During the application process, research the Inns and maybe visit them to get a feel for where you fit in. Boost your CV as much as possible to match their marking criteria e.g. advocacy, academics etc.
If anyone wants to apply for Pupillage during their undergrad degree, the key is preparation. I had a file which I kept my applications in for the sets I applied too; all annotated with extra questions I thought they might ask me on my applications. I then printed off lots of example Pupillage interview questions and bullet-pointed responses to them, as well as refreshing my mind on how to do simple advocacy exercises like a Plea in Mitigation or a Bail Application should they come up as an interview exercise (you can learn how to do them in the Bar Soc advocacy competitions!). I also had a section of the latest general and legal news stories. It’s a tough time, and can be daunting – but very rewarding!
I hope that that is all of some comfort; best of luck!