Where is the one place you can find out everything you need to know about a career at the Bar? Where you can meet hundreds of barristers from around 90 chambers and other pupillage providers? And where you can get advice on everything from CVs and applications to funding and support?

The Pupillage Fair is the annual free-to-attend exhibition and networking event that gives you all of the essentials to kickstart your career at the Bar. It’s the only recruitment event run by the Bar for the Bar of the future. It’s the place to meet and engage with practising barristers from every area of practice to find out about their work and gain a real insight into what life is like at the Bar – the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly.

The Fair is organised and run by the Bar Council with support from the Inns of Court and the Specialist Bar Associations to make sure it covers every angle of interest. Hundreds of volunteers at different stages of their careers will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice and guidance.

It’s a huge event and a fun day, but there’s a lot happening so it’s worth planning in advance to make sure you get the most out of it. Here are our top tips:

  1. Look through the list of exhibitors early on and make a list of the ones you want to visit to give yourself enough time to get around and talk to each one.
  2. Think about how you will introduce yourself and your interests – remember this is an opportunity for you to make connections with potential pupillage providers and you’ll want to make a good impression.
  3. Take a copy of your CV and application – the Fair is a great opportunity to get honest input from the very people who will be considering your future applications so don’t be shy in showing a copy of your CV and application and asking for constructive feedback. You can also secure a 15-minute advice chat with a practising barrister in the Application Clinic.
  4. Even if you know the area of law you’d like to practise in future, try to go with an open mind and visit a few exhibitors from different areas of practice – you might surprise yourself with what you find interesting, and it could open doors you didn’t know existed.
  5. Think about what matters to you in your future career and plan some questions that are important and unique to you.
  6. Don’t be tempted to just follow the herd – if you’re attending the Fair with friends, don’t just go to the stands they are interested in; make sure you prioritise the ones you’re interested in. You can always catch up later and swap notes.
  7. Spend some time with the equality and diversity networks – these grassroots organisations are a fantastic way to expand your network and connect with supportive colleagues and potential mentors.
  8. Take notes – you’ll be meeting a lot of people and organisations and they might all blur into one at the end of a busy day so make notes as you go along.
  9. Sign up to the online fringe events taking place in the run-up to the Fair – topics cover insights into specific areas of practice, advice on funding and support, unconventional and alternative routes to the Bar, and disability at the Bar.
  10. Enjoy yourself! The Bar is a relatively small profession full of passionate people who can’t wait to meet you and support you in your future career. 

This year’s Pupillage Fair takes place on Saturday 15 October 2022 at etc.venues, 133 Houndsditch, Liverpool Street, London EC3A 7BX with online events from 11 to 13 October. Find out more here.

This article first appeared in the Counsel Bar Student Guide 2022. To read the whole Guide, which is packed with invaluable advice and inspiration for aspiring barristers, please click here.