Completing The Gateway application is no mean feat. In fact, it is never too soon to start planning ahead! Here are a few ideas and tips to get you started:
- Think about the areas of practice you are interested in. A good question to start with is do you want to do criminal work or not? This will narrow the pool significantly (unless of course you want to do a bit of everything!). If you want to do civil work, is there a specific area within civil you would like to specialize in: commercial, personal injury, family law? Get a sense of yourself and how much you want to specialise in your career.
- Look at individual chambers. The ‘Chambers and Partners’ website is a good place to start if you know what areas of practice you are interested in. Then look at individual websites and consider reputation, location, size, pupillage awards, tenancy prospects and the general ethos of the chambers, carefully. It requires great self-awareness to be able to spot a ‘good fit’ when you see one.
- It is important you check the application process and deadlines as many sets do not use Gateway and will have their own forms and deadlines.
- Also note any special requirements or preferences. For example, a few chambers like you to do a mini-pupillage with them first. Remember, you can apply to as many non-Gateway sets as you like!
- Get your ducks in a row! If you know you want to do family law and are on the BVC, for example, get experience in this area through mini-pupillage, doing lots of mooting or by selecting a relevant course module. If you know that you need / want to do a mini-pupillage before applying, get onto it.
PUPILLAGE APPLICATION FORMS | MAKE THEM YOUR OWN
- Make sure you have time to do your application properly. Don’t leave it to the last minute and don’t leave logistics
- Consider the questions carefully and plan your answers in detail. Think about what examples you are going to use for each question and how personal you want to make it. Make sure you put as much of your experience to use and don’t include things that you think might be superfluous. For instance, detail of endless mini-pupillages is probably unnecessary!
- Try and put your stamp on it. Here at LL, we think you should give the answer you want, not the answer you think they want; the latter normally ends up with lots of the same answers and not much personality. Make sure you stand out (in a good way).
- Go through the application with a fine toothcomb, checking grammar and spelling. A classic mistake is forgetting to change the name of the chambers you are applying to – make sure it doesn’t happen to you!
PUPILLAGE INTERVIEW | A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK
- Know your chambers. It is worth researching as much as you can about the chambers, their practice areas, key cases and their pupillage scheme. Ignorance in this area will shine through in interview.
- If there is a question you are asked to prepare in advance, think about it in advance so you can do it justice. Always read the papers in the weeks before as most chambers’ do use current affairs as inspiration for interview questions.
- Think about questions you may have for chambers. After all, it is about getting the right fit, which is a
- Accept there is a little bit of luck to interviews: the panel you have, the questions you get. You can only plan so much…
- Turn up on time and look presentable. This can easily be overlooked but cannot only mean you come across better, but it can make you feel better too. There is nothing worse than feeling hot and bothered before you’ve even sat down!
- Sit tight and be patient. Probably the hardest bit is waiting to know whether you have an offer, and coping with rejection if you don’t. If it is the latter, don’t worry: you will not be alone in this and there is plenty to be learned from the experience. Take what you can from it and think carefully about whether you want to apply again next year, and if so, what you can do to improve your chances next time.