Becoming a barrister is very competitive process and applicants need to show a high level of ability, experience and enthusiasm in order to be successful. Around 1,700 people study a BPTC every year, but only 34% of students are offered a pupillage.
The route to qualification involves gaining experience in chambers and attending qualifying sessions at an Inn of Court. You can begin building your work experience at undergraduate level, whether you're studying law or not. Gaining work experience at this stage will support your application for the BPTC, as well as further down the line.
Prospective BPTC applicants are advised to do three mini-pupillages during their time at university. A mini-pupillage involves spending two weeks shadowing a barrister at a chambers and it will help prepare you for applying for, and undertaking a pupillage, after your BPTC.
This advice is relevant to law and non-law undergraduates. Researching different areas of law is a good starting point for considering a legal career - if you're here, then you've already started!
If you're not studying law, it's worth thinking about these things in the final year of your degree
Mini-pupillages are two-week voluntary placements with a legal chambers usually undertaken by students doing law degrees or graduate law conversion courses. These placements are of increasing importance due to the high level of competition for pupillages. Some law schools recommend that students take three mini-pupillages while studying.
A vacation scheme will give you an insight into the work of solicitors, who you are likely to work closely with as a barrister. However, if you are already clear that becoming a barrister is the route for you, you may want to make applying for mini-pupillages your primary focus.