You’ve secured a first round interview, congratulations. It’s certainly not an easy feat and the panel have seen something in your application.
So, what to expect as your excitement turns to panic. Where did I put my application, what did I say on it, what do they expect of me?
Different sets want different things from a first round interview. Some will interview many students so they can see their advocacy skills, others will see their top few and narrow it down quickly.
And that’s not the only difference. Criminal sets will likely want to see you prepare and perform a piece of advocacy, whereas a family set may want you to take them through a problem question which you may have 20 minutes to familiarise yourself with. Commercial sets may set you an opinion.
Standing out is tough and in an ideal world you will have completed a mini pupillage at the Chambers from which you received the offer of an interview. This indicates you have taken a special interest in that Chambers and could differentiate you from an equally good candidate who has not done one.
Either way, pupillage interviews are a skill and practice does make perfect.
So, if you’re serious about obtaining that all-important pupillage here are a few useful tips:
- Attend events run by your Law School and Inn on preparation for Interviews. They will be run by people in the know and likely involve current pupils, so you know their advice will be current.
- Practice whatever it is you are likely to be set. For example, if you are interviewing at a criminal set practice a plea in mitigation or a family problem. Mooting experience will help you here.
- Ask someone to give you a Mock Interview and get genuine feedback.
- Practice the obvious questions – why us/why the bar/why crime/why civil etc.
- Keep up with current affairs and have an opinion.
- The basics – It goes without saying, but make sure you look presentable. Dress well. Make a good first impression, not a Donald Duck tie, wrong impression. Arrive well in time for your interview. Arriving late will only make you panic and it does not send out a very good message to your interviewers. Pause before answering, breathe.
- Finally, do not feel that you must ask a question. This could be embarrassing for you especially if the answer is already on the Chambers website.