General information on pupillages in local government

There is no "clearing house" system for pupillages in local government. Each local authority considers its own needs and determines (if it has an employed barrister working for it who has more than five years' work experience and is a registered pupil-master), whether or not to advertise nationally for such pupillages. There are, currently, only a very limited number of registered local government pupil-masters.

The best course of action, therefore, is to keep a lookout for pupillages in local government by checking relevant local government publications (for example, Local Government Chronicle, Law Society's Gazette, the Lawyer and Bar News). Once you have completed your pupillage, you should not be deterred from applying for "Assistant Solicitor" type positions. Recently qualified barristers (without pupillages) may, on occasions, be considered for such positions although this is proving most difficult.



Birmingham City Council’s Legal Department is the largest local authority legal practice in the UK, with over 200 staff. It provides legal advice and representation services to other Service Departments and Councillors in relation to whole range of local government functions; which ranging from, for example, Planning, Highways, Education, Housing, Leisure, Procurement, Contracts, Employment, Prosecutions, Landlord & Tenant, Property Development to Child Protection and Adult Mental Health.

Any available pupilage at Birmingham City Council will be advertised on the pupillage portal and relevant local government publications/websites.

By way of general information, in 2010, Birmingham commenced its 12 month pupillage programme which encapsulates spending approximately 4.5 months at a time within each of two Divisions of the Legal Department, with a floater three months period to specialise in one of the Divisions and/or spend some time in a local set of chambers.

In one of the Divisions, the Pupil will be dealing with legal work relating to child protection, adoption, mental health, community care, education and employment issues. In the other Division, the Pupil will be dealing with criminal litigation, personal injury, housing, civil litigation, community safety, property, planning, housing, re-generation, contracts, licensing and information law.

A Pupil in local government can expect the following experiences:- • Communicating with Councillors, client departments, solicitors and other professional advisers, courts and members of the public; • Carrying out legal research and the giving of legal advice; • Drafting of legal documents and advocacy before the Courts; • Interviewing and advising clients; • Negotiating and dispute resolution; and • Learning the principles of professional conduct

The Pupil will, of course, be expected to uphold the highest standards of conduct required of a barrister employed in employed practice and will be expected to carry out such other tasks as may be allocated by the Pupil Master, Director of Legal Services and/or the Assistant Directors of Legal Services.  Some general information re the BSB Application Form, Appraisal and Supervision checklists are attached to this page as follows:

1.                  Birmingham City Council Press Release : 1st Feb 2011;

2.                  BCC Pupillage Policy 2011;

3.                  BCC Pupillage Appraisal Form 2011; and

4.                  BCC’s application to BSB 2011 (extract) .

Other information appearing on this website that may be of general interest to you includes:

(a)     A career in Local Government for Barristers;

(b)     Your Questions Answered; and

(c)     Chairman's Newsletters.