17 June 2019

Your chances of success

Before embarking on a career as a barrister, you should understand that it is a very competitive career choice. In particular, every year there are substantially more people completing the vocational stage of qualification, the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), who want to proceed to the work-based learning stage (pupillage) than there are pupillages available. Even after completing pupillage there is competition amongst barristers to secure "tenancy" at a set of barristers' chambers or vacancies as a junior employed barrister.

So success at the Bar requires determination, dedication and ability. 

As a minimum you will need to demonstrate your academic and intellectual abilities through achieving the best degree classification of which you are capable, and your vocational knowledge and skills through performing to the highest standard you can attain on the BPTC. Our statistics show that you are most likely to obtain a pupillage if you have a good class of degree and a good result in your BPTC. But that does not mean you will only succeed with a First. An "Outstanding" BPTC grade is actually a stronger determinant than the class of your initial degree. Given the competitive nature of the profession, however, you should also think more broadly about how to distinguish yourself and your commitment to your chosen profession. You might offer evidence of this by showing that you have taken opportunities for relevant work experience, or public speaking; alternatively you may have undertaken a range of non-law related activities that demonstrate independence of thought and tenacity.

We publish a large amount of data annually regarding student attainment on the BPTC, as well as reports from annual monitoring visits to BPTC providers. You can read our latest statistics.