The Pupillage Gateway system received 17,527 applications from 2,114 applicants this April.
In 2014, there were 2,319 applicants making a total of 19,239 applications for pupillage. This represents an 8.8 per cent drop, both in the number of applicants and the number of applications made.
The figures do not represent the total number of pupillage applications for this year, as many chambers choose to operate outside the Gateway system.
Pupillage Gateway and its predecessor Pupillage Portal have been plagued with technical problems in the past, leaving applicants frustated as their work was lost. However, it appears that any bugs have been ironed out as no major errors were reported this year.
The drop in application numbers comes hot on the heels of the news that the number of first-six pupillages fell below 400 for the first time in decades last year, dropping to 397. The number spiked during 2012/13 due to regulatory reasons, before which it had hovered around 430 in recent years.