Do we need more pupillages?

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  • We most Definately 'need' a greater number of pupillages. Being a recent BPTC graduate, the chances of pupillage seem very slim. If you are to compare the amount of money spent on the course, not to mention the time and dedication, it seems unjust that the chances of successfully attaining pupillage stand as they are. As the course has also changed not just by name, however through the syllabus and marking criteria, it is much more difficult to successfully complete the course. However it seems this change has not made it easier to attain pupillage.
    There is no doubt that more pupillages are necessary, however the chances of more pupillages being available are are slim. If this is not a possible avenue, should there not be a restriction of the number of pupils who can undertake the BPTC, in order to reflect the number of pupillages available. It seems very unfair, to have to compete against so many applicants for a limited number of pupillages. Baring in mind that applicants would not only be those who recently completed the Bar, yet pupils who completed it maybe 3-4 years ago. There is simply too much competition. Furthermore for those students from poorer backgrounds, would suffer the affects of a lack of pupillages much more. After all they have invested so much money into it, and thus should have a high chance of gaining pupillage rather than a very minute chance.
    There is no denying that something needs to be done.

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  • Miss.shah - would you rather have more pupillages even if there were no more tenancies? Isn't the point to become a barrister not a pupil?

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  • Miss.shah - We "need" a greater number of pupillages? Is there vast quantities of legal work going undone? Do clients weep at the difficult task of finding an advocate? Are barristers forced to turn work away - "no time, I'm afraid, try somewhere else"?

    I think not.

    A vital legal skill is grasping the essential issue, and here the essential issue is this: the number of pupillages is determined by the demand for the services barristers provide, not by the number of people who want a pupillage. The Bar is a professional organisation not a charity or a club. No-one owes you a living, nor a pupillage.

    Furthermore, it is not "unfair" that there is so much competition or "unjust" that your chances are as they are. Presumably you knew when starting the BVC or BPTC that the competition was fierce and that the most likely result was that you would not obtain pupillage? If so one wonders why you started. If not one wonders why you would spend so much money with so little idea of what you were spending it on.

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  • The problem is huge numbers of students on the BPTC shouldn't have ever been allowed anywhere near it. Because they have absolutely no chance of getting pupillage. It's an absolute scandal that you can get a place on the course with a 2:2 from any old cruddy poly, but chambers can take their pick of the very best of the top university grads. After all, only 4% of pupils have 2:2s, almost all of whom will be mature applicants who have had a first career.
    For almost everyone on the course, it's a complete waste of time, effort and - most importantly - money.

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  • I completely agree- people need to be realistic about their future prospects with a 2:2.
    There is an important distinction between optimistic and disillusioned.

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  • If there would be more pupillage, but not sufficient tenancies, you still could not find a tenency when you complete the pupillage stage. What is the points to increase number of pupillage?

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  • The problem is providers being allowed free reign on who they let onto the course. These are big businesses who are abusing their position as the keepers of the keys to the legal market; thousands of fresh-faced students are given the illusion that if they pay £15000 for a "respected" qualification (one that is virtually useless outside of the bar) they will have a fighting chance of getting a job. The very fact that the college of law has been bought out by private equity shows that this is a lucrative area.

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  • This issue can be easily resolved but before i get to that let me write a preamble:

    Everyone in the law business would agree that there is a paramount need for acces to justice. Why then is there such huge disparity between the publicly funded side of the Bar and the private one. Answer: the private one is beyond the ambit of governmental powers (dispite the mamouth efforts of Lord Wolf to reform it), and the sad truth is that barristers, clerks, solicitors and partners in law firms want to keep it this way because the fees they charge are very handsom indeed.

    My suggestion to solving the problem then would be as follows:

    Have a level playing field in relation to funding both for barrister and solicitors alike when it comes to pupillages and training contracts and this should be the minimum requirement. this way more pupils and trainee solicitors can be taken on; as a result evryone benefits because:

    a) the pupil/trainee solicitor would have completed the next stage and a such be entitled to a practicing certificate;
    b) Chambers/Firms will be spoiled for choice and definitely choose from an array of quasi-qualified lawyers rather than finding half-way through the aprenticeship that the people they selected are not up to scratch;
    c) the access to justice conundrum is aided by the fact that pupils without tenacy but with a practicing certificate will be doing a lot of pro-bono work to keep their certificates alive until they finally get employed or obtain tenancy.

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