David Johnstone, Social Mobility Foundation

Why paying for pupillages is bad for the bar

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  • So it's OK to give some one work experience simply because they are from a poor family but is morally wrong to extend the offer to someone who is more affluent & gave to charity ?

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  • I don't think Mini Pupilages are the big issue.

    The really big problem is that full pupillages, and to a lesser extent training contracts, are still given out on the basis of these personal contacts.

    I've seen this first hand at Uni (I went to a redbrick with a reputation for posh students). One student on the course (whose mother was head of HR at a city firm) gave 5 friends training contracts.

    Another student, whose grades were so poor that she had to register as an international student just to get on the law course was offered a pupillage almost immediately (albeit specialising in immigration cases) which I cannot believe would have happened in a meritocratic system.

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  • @ 12.58pm This completely misses the point. The point is that talented people are not getting work experience and internships because mummy and daddy can't afford to pay for their living expenses and their schools are rubbish. Things may be better, as they were when there were grammar schools, if the professions were populated by able people rather than, in a significant part, by people who are frankly lacking and talent and wouldn't be there if mummy and daddy hadn't bankrolled them.

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  • @12:58pm It's not ok to give someone work experience because they are poor, it's ok because they are talented but without access to work experience. It's likely to be more difficult to obtain work experience if their parents cannot help either financially or by arranging it. The truth is that parents from much lower incomes are less likely to have contacts in high income roles who are able to help with work experience and even if they do they may not be able to afford travel and accommodation, however brilliant their child may be as a lawyer.

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