The number of Bar Vocational Course (BVC) graduates invited to take pupillage has dropped by 20 per cent since the turn of the century, with less than a third of graduates securing pupillages last year.
The alarming trend comes despite a 32 per cent increase in the number of students starting the bar course, according to Bar Council figures. By contrast, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has seen the number of trainee solicitors taken on by law firms jump by 16 per cent over the same period.
Richard de Friend, the College of Law’s London director and senior academic registrar, said securing a pupillage is difficult, with success depending heavily on academic performance.
“The chances are far slimmer for those with lower second-class degrees, especially if their A-level grades are also relatively weak,” he said.
Nottingham Law School was the most successful school, with 60 per cent of its BVC graduates gaining pupillage. City Law School had a 35 per cent success rate, BPP Law School 33 per cent, the College of Law 25 per cent and Northumbria University only 9 per cent.