A little while ago this news was making the legal headlines, and the idea behind it is that students would know if they have a pupillage prior to committing to studying the BPTC.
Whilst in practice this seems like a good idea, I know so many people that get a pupillage a year or so after they have studied the BPTC so it wouldn’t solve that – unless it is there to try and act as a deterrent – but if you really want something, then you would study the BPTC and keep applying for a pupillage year after year until you got one.
The gateway originally closed in April and it is now being brought forward to January, and
Part of the reason behind this is that with the number of pupillage places slipping well below the 400 mark, and the expense of studying the BPTC it is meant to enable students to make a more informed decision about whether or not to study the BPTC.
One article did mention however that there is scholarship funding available for studying the BPTC for some students and therefore these people would go ahead and study it anyways as they aren’t paying for it.
I think the reason behind this on paper is good (if you are one of the lucky ones to secure a Pupillage prior to embarking on the BPTC), however in practice it doesn’t really work, because I know so many people that want to make it as a Barrister and will continue to study the BPTC and attempt to secure a pupillage whether the gateway closes in April or January. They also know that if they don’t then succeed in securing one after the BPTC for a few years after attempting to do so for a few years then they will embark on an alternative legal career.
Maybe this will help going forward but at the moment there are so many current BPTC students and former BPTC students desperately trying to secure a pupillage and that number is only going to continue to grow, and sadly it looks like the number of pupillage places offered is going to continue to fall.
Maybe BPTC providers should be more selective with who they accept onto the course, in order to reduce the number of people trying to get a pupillage?