The number of pupillages offered has hit a new record — exceeding pre-pandemic levels, the Bar Council’s 2024 Pupillage Gateway report has shown.

A total of 638 positions were advertised through the Pupillage Gateway, the Bar Council’s recruitment portal. There were almost 150 more pupillages on offer this year than in 2019/20 (489).

The report uses data from the Pupillage Gateway, a recruitment portal owned by the Bar Council, used to advertise vacancies and recruit aspiring barristers for pupillage at the Bar.

The key points to emerge from the report are:

  1. The number of pupillages advertised increased by approximately 10.4%. 638 pupillages were advertised on the Pupillage Gateway in 2022/23 compared with 578 in 2021/22.
  2. There was an increase in the number of applicants. There were 2,979 applicants in 2022/23 compared with 2,782 in 2021/22.
  3. The biggest indicator of success in securing pupillage was degree classification. 60.1% of offers made were to applicants with a First Class Honours degree. 36.1% of offers made were to those with an Upper Second Class Honours degree.
  4. Few candidates without ever having attended a mini-pupillage obtained offers: 12.7% of candidates who had attended at least one mini-pupillage received an offer compared with 1.7% of those candidates who did not.
  5. 53.1% of the 288 offers recorded were received by candidates who had secured a scholarship from one of the Inns of Court, compared with 38.2% of those who did not.
  6. Students who have not studied law at an undergraduate level are at no disadvantage.
  7. A higher proportion of pupillage offers went to women (57.3%) over men (38.9%). This is comparable to 2021/22, where 57.5% went to women and 36.2% to men.
  8. In 2023, the number of pupillages started (501) decreased by 4.4% compared with 2022 (524).

In response to the findings, Bar Chair, Sam Townend KC, said:

'I am delighted to see that the number of pupillages offered on the Gateway has hit a new record, surpassing the numbers seen before the pandemic. The encouraging increase in pupillage awards shows that the Bar overall is doing well with chambers having confidence in the future of the profession. I hope aspiring barristers and those who have already begun their careers at the Bar find the contents of this report useful. It offers insight into the trends emerging at the recruitment stage of the profession.'