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Application timeline

Your application timeline: key dates for getting hired as a pupil barrister

Our term-by-term guide explains the steps you need to take in order to meet application deadlines for the conversion course, Bar professional training course and pupillage.

Second-year law or final-year non-law students

Autumn term

  • Read TARGETjobs Law. Pick up a paper copy from your careers service or use the online version available on the barristers’ homepage.
  • Get to know your own strengths and weaknesses, then assess your suitability for the Bar. Do you have the key skills and qualities you need to be a barrister?
  • Research the different areas that barristers practise in and decide what sort of chambers you’d like to do pupillage with. See the areas of practice overviews on the barristers’ homepage of this site.
  • Attend careers service events for aspiring lawyers.
  • Draft a CV for mini-pupillages applications and get it checked by a careers adviser.
  • Investigate funding possibilities for the Bar course (formerly called the BPTC). Be sure to check the closing dates.

Christmas vacation and spring term

  • Apply for mini-pupillages, organise any legal work experience you can (use the TARGETjobs Law Pupillages Handbook for research).
  • Look into other useful experience (mooting, visiting court).
  • Join an Inn of Court by 31 May if hoping to begin your Bar course this year. Consider applying for an Inn scholarship.
  • If relevant, apply for a conversion course place (usually in February of the year the course is due to start). Use the TARGETjobs Law paper publication to identify a suitable course.
  • Prepare scholarship applications for conversion courses (if relevant).


  • Undertake mini-pupillages or other legal work experience.

Final-year law or conversion-year students

Autumn term

  • Join an Inn of Court and find out what help it can offer.
  • Research Bar course providers using the TARGETjobs Law paper publication.
  • Attend the TARGETjobs National Pupillage Fair and get your copy of the new TARGETjobs Law Pupillages Handbook.
  • Make scholarship applications for the Bar course.
  • Apply for the Bar course online via your chosen course provider from November 2020 to January 2021. Please note that the Bar course may be referred to by different names from the 2020 intake. Offers are made from March 2021.
  • Make sure you’ve got your financial situation in order.
  • Check the system for obtaining the certificate of completion of the academic stage of training.
  • Investigate the pupillage application procedure and check any early closing dates.
  • Make pupillage applications online for sets using the Pupillage Gateway system – adverts are available to view from December and applications open 4 January 2020 and close 8 February 2020. See for more information. Make sure you get a careers adviser to look over your application.

Spring and summer

  • Apply individually to chambers that do not use the Pupillage Gateway application system.
  • Attend pupillage interviews. Some sets may have interviews close to your exam period.
  • Pupillage offers are made in May by chambers using Pupillage Gateway.

Bar course year

  • Don’t forget important paperwork on your first day.
  • Be available for pupillage interviews.
  • Continue to gain as much experience as you can; part-time jobs will help you fund your studies and can be valuable experience.

The stages of training to become a barrister

Academic stage

  • Law degree or non-law degree plus appropriate conversion course (fees: £5,000–£13,000).

Vocational stage

  • The Bar course is run by eight institutions worldwide (c.1,400 places). Fees: £13,000–£20,000.

Practical stage

  • Undertake pupillage in chambers (c.450 places) before securing a tenancy, often with the same set, or completing a ‘third six’.

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In Partnership

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