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This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Despite the numerous obstacles faced by aspiring barristers and the significant drop in pupillages theres still no stopping some students from plumping for the bar.
Granted that not many jobs can compete with one where you get paid to argue. But as the BBC2 fly-on-the-wall documentary, The Barristers, revealed last Friday (14 November) the bar is definitely not for the faint-hearted (see story). The cost of qualification alone is enough to make you flee the profession before youve even had a chance to don a wig. Whats more if youre a student from a non-traditional background like the characters featured in The Barristers your chances of success are arguably much slimmer.
The bar is coming under increased pressure to follow in the footsteps of the solicitors profession and to make a bigger effort to recruit from a wider pool of candidates. Lord Neuberger published a report last November listing 57 proposals for reform including the launch of a preferential loan scheme to help students to finance the BVC. But despite the report turning one year old this month theres been little evidence of the recommendations turning into actions.
Take law fairs for instance. The only one to have a significant presence from the bar was, yes you guessed it, Oxford University where at least 10 leading barristers chambers attended. The bar will no doubt argue that it simply doesnt have the resource to send chambers pupillages administrators around a tour of university campuses. And since the number of BVC students significantly outstrips the number of pupillage places on offer is there any need for chambers to fork out on any marketing activities at all?
Im sure there are plenty of heads of chambers who would say no to the above question. But thats not the point. Many training contract vacancies are also heavily over-subscribed but that hasnt stopped law firms from pursuing diversity initiatives. I just hope therefore that the bar follows suit quickly otherwise it risks losing good candidates to rival professions.
If youve got any horror stories about your quest for a training contract then why not get in touch?