Pupillage gateway to replace ‘disparate and disorganised’ system

A new online pupillage application system has been launched today by the Bar Council.

At the formal launch of the Pupillage Gateway, Guy Fetherstonhaugh QC, training for the bar committee chairman, said that the system had been designed to replace the previous “disparate, disjointed and disorganised” pupillage application system from which many chambers, including his own, had opted out of altogether.

The previous pupillage application system Pupillage Portal had suffered a series of IT glitches in previous years (19 July 2011) and Maura McGowan QC, chairman of the bar, said that the launch “reflects a concerted effort to listen to and understand feedback from applicants and providers”.

Fetherstonhaugh said that the gateway had been “rewritten from the ground upwards” following “in-depth” market research with chambers and applicants.

Designed by Jobs Go Public, a provider of recruitment solutions in the public and not-for-profit sectors, the gateway is designed to support the high numbers of applications for pupillage and has been modelled so as to acknowledge feedback from users of the previous online system.

The new site, which goes live at 11am tomorrow, includes a wider range of search criteria and the ability to store data from previous applications. It also allows applicants to tailor their applications to individual chambers. For chambers the gateway includes an internal sifting procedure and interview scheduling tool.

Chambers are also prompted to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants. “It’s not desirable that people are left waiting until the end of the application process if a decision has already been made on their application during sifting,” Fetherstonhaugh said. “It takes very little to provide feedback and while it may not mean much to chambers it means an awful lot to applicants.”

While all chambers have to advertise pupillages on the system, those using the application process will pay £424.

The Bar Council, together with the Inns of Court, has also produced a brochure to introduce a career at the bar entitled ’ Your career as a barrister’.