The Bar Council has withdrawn the Pupillage Portal clearing round due to poor uptake.
The clearing round enabled students to use a generic application form to apply for any vacancies the chambers may have left in line with a common deadline.
In a statement from the Bar Council a spokesperson said: “As the clearing service had hardly been used by chambers (it was not used at all in 2011, and just three sets used it in 2009 and 2010), it was considered that the prospect of a clearing service offered unrealistic expectations for candidates when in practice chambers successfully recruited in the first round and had no need to use clearing.”
Following the changes for 2012, student will have to apply directly to chambers for any unfilled vacancies. This may mean that students will have to use different applications forms and be subject to competing deadlines if applying to chambers not signed up to the central application scheme (14 March 2011).
However former Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) student Adam Fellows believes that the removal of the clearing round will not have an adverse affect on would-be barristers.
“It appears to have been very rare for Chambers to use it for recruitment, and with the competition growing for each place and the CVs of candidates becoming more impressive, it is no surprise that Chambers will almost always fill their places,” he added.
“It also seems to be a period of consolidation for some Chambers rather than expansion, as some sets have not recruited for a year or more. It is this that I feel has a much greater impact on my pupillage chances than the removal of the clearing round.”