What is mini-pupillage?

Mini-pupillage is work experience with one or more of the barristers at Cornerstone Barristers. Mini-pupillage gives the opportunity to view the life of a barrister first-hand and provides a special insight into life at our Chambers. Most Chambers, when considering applications for full pupillage, will expect to see that an applicant has undertaken at least two mini-pupillages. It helps the applicant demonstrate that they understand the nature of practice at the independent Bar.

Mini-pupillages last for three days. We aim to ensure that mini-pupils observe several aspects of a barrister’s work including attending court, reviewing and drafting papers and possibly attending meetings with clients. All mini-pupils will have the opportunity to complete a written exercise.

  • What to expect

    Mini-pupillages will involve court time, an opportunity to consider and then discuss papers with a barrister, and time completing a written exercise. One of our junior barristers will provide you with informal feedback on your written exercise as an indication of the standard of written work we expect from our pupils and junior barristers.

    During your mini-pupillage, you will be assigned to one or more of our barristers who works in one of our main areas of specialisation.

    The type of work that mini-pupils do during their time with us depends on the cases being handled by our barristers in that particular week. Mini-pupils need to be flexible: sometimes cases settle at the last minute or clients’ plans change. Last-minute change is all part of life at the Bar, but our staff will do their best to reallocate mini-pupils to other cases or barristers.

  • Eligibility

    You must have completed the first two years of a law degree or have completed or have a confirmed place on a GDL conversion course to be eligible to apply for a mini-pupillage at Cornerstone Barristers.

    School pupils are not eligible for mini-pupillages and we do not currently offer other types of work experience programmes.

  • How do I apply?

    We offer up to 30 mini-pupillages in each year throughout the following seasons:

    • 1 January – 31 May (apply by 30 November)
    • 1 June – 31 July (apply by 30 April)
    • 1 September – 30 November (apply by 31 July) 

    We do not offer mini-pupillages outside these times as the courts tend to be quieter and we want all mini-pupils to have a busy time with us.

    You may only select one of the above seasons when applying. You will be notified in writing after each of the application deadlines as to whether or not you have been successful.

    To apply, please read the section below on selection criteria and complete the Mini Pupillage Application Form and email the completed form together with a completed Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire (which is discretionary) to our Administration Assistant, Nina Bhose ( There is no need for you to submit a CV or covering letter.

    We have recently joined the Inner Temple’s Pegasus Access and Support Scheme (PASS) which supports high achieving students from underrepresented groups through mini-pupillage. Eligible candidates can apply to receive funding to cover their travel and accommodation costs associated with their mini-pupillage. We will offer up to three mini-pupillages through PASS.

    For more information about the eligibility criteria as well as for applying to the Scheme, please visit the Inner Temple’s PASS Scheme page.

  • Selection procedure and criteria

    We receive hundreds of applications for mini-pupillage each year for a limited number of places, so we have adopted a selection process and criteria to assess applications. Cornerstone is strongly committed to equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion and we particularly encourage applicants from backgrounds that have not been traditionally represented at the Bar.

    Each application form is marked ‘blind’ (with references to the candidate’s name removed). We mark application forms against the criteria below. Please have these in mind as you complete the application form.

  • Intellectual ability

    We look for mini-pupils with strong intellectual ability and many of our mini-pupils have outstanding academic track records. Exam success is not the only way an applicant can demonstrate intellectual ability. If your academic record is less strong, please explain on the application form how you can demonstrate your intellectual ability.

  • Personal qualities

    We look for mini-pupils who can demonstrate qualities such as:

    • Self-reliance
    • Resilience
    • Independence
    • Integrity
    • Reliability
    • Capacity to work well with others
  • Understanding of the legal profession

    We look for mini-pupils who have some understanding of the legal profession, in particular the work of the independent Bar.

  • Interest in Chambers' work

    We look for mini-pupils who:

    • Have an accurate understanding of what Chambers’ key specialisms are
    • Have gained a fair understanding of what those specialisms entail
    • Can demonstrate reasoned enthusiasm for one or more of those specialisms, supported by evidence
  •  Oral advocacy aptitude
    • We look for mini-pupils who can speak clearly, engagingly, and persuasively
    • You can demonstrate this by telling us about your extra-curricular activities, such as debating, public speaking, or mooting. You may have experience of public speaking gained from work or a previous career
  • Written advocacy aptitude

    We look for mini-pupils who can:

    • Express themselves clearly in writing
    • Be concise where appropriate
    • Write accurately (free from typos)
    • Write persuasively

    Cornerstone Barristers considers all applications equally and does not discriminate on grounds of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief or age. Information provided in the equal opportunities monitoring questionnaire will be kept separately from your application and will not be considered during the selection process.

  • Feedback from previous mini-pupil

    “I completed a week long mini-pupillage with Cornerstone Barristers. The staff in Chambers were nothing short of brilliant. They were very friendly, efficient and well organised. I was fortunate enough to be in court for the majority of the week, watching areas of law that were of real interest to me (aside from one afternoon when working on the written exercise). The practice staff were most helpful in providing case information and even-handed me directions to the courts in London.

    The members of Chambers were also very accommodating and inclusive. With many mini-pupillages, you may find yourself sat there and just observing a case before going to another member. My experience of Cornerstone was the completely opposite. Members were more than happy to give the background of the case and how they were going to go about it, how different courts require different types of advocacy and even the next steps in terms of my career.

    I have been fortunate enough to retain my links with members and staff at Cornerstone, who have been supportive of every step forward in my career. They have helped prepare me for scholarship interviews and my studies on the BPTC.

    Having done four mini pupillages at various chambers, it is clear to me that without a shadow of a doubt, the experience at Cornerstone was the best. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Cornerstone Barristers, and would highly recommend their mini pupillage scheme to students looking to enter the profession.”

    Jake Newell, mini-pupil.

  • Data collection

    We will retain personal data you send us only for the purpose of assessing your application for mini-pupillage and, if offered a mini-pupillage, administering your mini-pupillage, receiving feedback from you and statistical analysis of equality and diversity data. We will delete the data we hold about you at the end of the mini-pupillage season you apply for. We summarise diversity data in a redacted form that cannot be attributed to individuals. If you would like to receive our legal updates and news, please sign up by following the link here.