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MAKING APPLICATIONS FOR THE BPTC. Jenny Keaveney Careers Advisory Service The slides from this talk will be available at . How to become a barrister. Get a good degree (2.1 or above) Get relevant experience Mini-pupillages

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making applications for the bptc


Jenny Keaveney

Careers Advisory Service

The slides from this talk will be available at

how to become a barrister
How to become a barrister
  • Get a good degree (2.1 or above)
  • Get relevant experience
    • Mini-pupillages
    • Other experience that will demonstrate your skills and personality
  • Take the Bar Professional Training Course
  • Gain practical experience (pupillage)
  • Get a tenancy
what is the bptc
What is the BPTC?

The BPTC is a one-year postgraduate course (formerly known as the BVC) designed to:

  • prepare students for practice at the Bar
  • bridge the gap between the academic study of law and the practice of law
  • provide the foundation for the development of excellence in advocacy
  • inculcate a professional and ethical approach to practice as a barrister
  • equip students to perform competently in matters in which they are likely to be briefed during pupillage
what does the bptc cover
What does the BPTC cover?
  • Seven core skills (60% of the course)
    • Legal research; Casework skills; Opinion writing; Drafting; Conference skills; Negotiation; Advocacy
  • Three “knowledge areas”
    • Civil Litigation; Criminal Litigation; Evidence
  • Professional Ethics and Conduct
  • Options
how is the bptc delivered
How is the BPTC delivered?
  • Skills-based – most teaching through small group exercises
  • Practical assessments, coursework and formal exams
  • Available in 11 locations around England & Wales (not just in London!)
  • BPTC students must also join one of the Inns of Court and complete 12 “qualifying sessions” – dining and educational
some statistics
Some Statistics
  • Approximately 3000 applications for 1800 BPTC places
  • Fees range from £9500 to £15750
  • Overall pass rate 86%(pass rates range from 75% - 95%, depending on the institution - but the pass mark has been raised since the latest pass rates were published)
  • 1560 students successfully completed BVC in 2007
  • 510 of these obtained pupillage in the same year
  • “Over 4000 applicants are now routinely competing for about 460 pupillage places”(Nicholas Green QC, chair of the Bar Council, speaking last month)
how to apply for the bptc
How to Apply for the BPTC
  • Closing date 13th January 2011 (14:00 hours)
  • The application form asks for:
    • Choice of 3 BPTC providers
    • Personal and educational details
    • Employment history
    • Referee details (they will email your referee)
    • Skills (languages and IT skills)
what are selectors looking for
What are selectors looking for?
  • Intellectual ability
  • Motivation
  • Analytical skills
  • Communication/interpersonal skills
  • Advocacy skills
  • Individuality – something to make you stand out from other candidates
intellectual ability
Intellectual ability
  • Exam results are obviously crucial
  • Put them in context: e.g. results achieved in the face of difficulties
  • Highlight any significant prizes or awards you may have received
  • Any other achievements
bar related experience
Bar-related experience

“Please detail any mini-pupillages or other Bar-related experience that you have undertaken”

  • Should offer more than one mini-pupillage
  • Include here activities such as:
    • marshalling or Court visits
    • experience with solicitors’ firms
    • experience with in-house legal departments
    • experience in other legal jurisdictions
  • Say what you learned from these experiences

“Please explain why you want to train as a barrister”

  • Have you talked to practising barristers? visited Courts, Inns or Chambers? joined an Inn?
  • Are you aware of current issues at the Bar? Do you read the legal press?
  • Have you researched other options in law – especially solicitors?

“A mature appreciation of what a career at the Bar involves, and evidence of genuine commitment, is looked for”.

analytical skills
Analytical skills

“Provide specific examples of your ability to quickly and accurately analyse large amounts of written information”

  • Try and find examples from outside your law studies
  • Law Clinic/mini-pupillages/law work experience
  • Other work experience
communication skills
Communication skills

“Provide specific examples of when you have displayed exceptional communication and/or interpersonal skills”

  • any positions of responsibility you have held;
  • occasions when you have had to deal with members of the public;
  • experience at a managerial or supervisory level;
  • representative positions such as sitting on committees
  • experience of working with people under difficult circumstances.

Think about the way that you will have to work with people at the Bar – colleagues, clients and other professionals – and relate your experience to this.

advocacy and public speaking
Advocacy and public speaking

“Provide specific examples of how you have developed these skills – preferably since age 18”

  • Debating, mooting, teaching, campaigning, making presentations or making representations on someone else’s behalf
  • Include details of any outcomes – even if you didn’t win the moot or debate, say what you learned from the experience.
  • “Competitive” advocacy, such as mooting/debating, is usually viewed more favourably than drama or public speaking.
  • Negotiation and sales experience would also be relevant here
personal organisational skills
Personal organisational skills

“Describe a time when you have been particularly under pressure and how you organised your work”

  • Any experience of dealing with pressure in employment, personal life or education
  • How you dealt with multiple activities at the same time.
  • Try and find something more than “getting all my essays in on time” or “combining study with a part-time job”
  • Coping with the unexpected; being flexible and being able to change your plans, or finding a new way of accomplishing something at short notice
  • Make your application interesting!
  • Anything a bit different/unusual will help you to stand out
  • Work experience and extra-curricular activities can offer good material here
your application
Your application
  • Take your time – don’t submit your application at 13.59 on the closing date!
  • THINK about every section – what you have to say and how it relates to the competency in question
  • Be accurate – in every respect
  • What did you learn?
what happens next
What happens next?
  • Thursday 13 January 2011 (2.00pm) - Closing date for first round applications
  • Thursday 10 February 2011 - System reopens for clearing applications
  • Tuesday 8 March 2011 - Offers made from first round applications
  • Tuesday 7 April 2011 (2.00pm) – Acceptance deadline for first round offers
  • Monday 11 April 2011 – Clearing pool opens to Providers
  • Tuesday 31 May 2011 – Closing date for application to an Inn of Court (if you haven’t already done so) – you must be a member of an Inn to commence a BPTC. Early application is advised.
  • Wednesday 31 August 2011 – Clearing round closes (2.00pm)
  • Wednesday 14 September 2011 – The system closes (2.00pm)
  • Monday 19 September 2011– Start of term for most BPTCs
further information online
Further information - online
  • (includes mini-pupillages)
  • (The Training Contract & Pupillage Handbook online)
  • Chambers Student Guide
further information print
Further information - print

The Training Contract & Pupillage Handbook


Pupillages Handbook

The Path to Pupillage

Careers Advisory Service

Careers Advisers for Law Students:


Jenny Keaveney

[email protected]


Jenny Walters

[email protected]

 Careers Advisory Service, University of Kent, 2010