Work Experience Bursary: A Week in the Life of Barrister’s mini-pupil in London

Guest blog written by Tanya Elahi (Bachelor of Law (LLB), 2021).

The Work Experience Bursary offers financial support for full-time undergraduates of all years to undertake career enhancing work experience. Tanya, a recipient of the bursary, shares her experience of her internship and how the Bursary helped her gain vital work experience in London.

I had the opportunity to undertake a mini-pupillage with a Barrister’s Chambers in London. This was the first time I had experienced work at the London Bar and the Work Experience Bursary contributed towards my accommodation and travel costs.

This mini-pupillage was especially helpful for me, as I had the chance to support the barrister I was shadowing with her work, rather than just following her around.

During my internship, I completed a number of tasks including: researching topics relating to current cases, speaking to an opposing counsel about his role and attending court. The opportunity to attend court and witness a case with a defendant was particularly interesting. In this case, the defendant was continuously having outbursts in court and interrupting the judge and lawyers, which meant we could not get past the prosecution opening speech. Despite this, I feel I learnt a lot from this experience and gained a deeper appreciation of the judge’s patience.

We asked Tanya some questions about her experience with the Bursary:

How did the Work Experience Bursary Scheme support you?

Without the financial support of the bursary, I would not of been able to complete the mini-pupillage. The bursary made my work experience possible and helped enrich my CV. The opportunity to complete work experience boosted my employability and I believe I would of not been offered two job interviews and another mini-pupillage if it was not for this experience.

How did you find out about the Work Experience Bursary Scheme?

I received an offer to complete the mini-pupillage and then was informed that the Chambers would be unable to provide any financial support for my travel and accommodation. They gave me a short deadline in which I had to accept my offer for the work experience. I was worried about how I was going to afford the experience but I did not want to miss out. I was looking for financial support and found out about this bursary through the University website.

I applied for the Bursary and explained my situation to the Careers Service team and it was incredibly helpful they were able to consider my application at short-notice and inform me of the outcome. Knowing I had the financial support of the Bursary, I could then finalise arrangements with the Chambers and did not miss out on the work experience.

What specific or transferable skills did you develop through the work experience?

My work experience helped me to develop many skills, which will be useful in my future career. Most importantly, I developed my written communication skills and learnt how to be concise and ‘write like a barrister’. The exposure to things like psychiatric reports and other bundle documents also helped develop my analytical skills as I worked through them to pick out information that was inconsistent or questionable. Both of these are trial skills, which will be immensely useful in my career at the Bar.

Do you have any words of wisdom for future students looking to gain work experience?

I would definitely advise any student not to be afraid to apply for work experience opportunities that may not be paid or have any expenses covered. University bursaries such as this one exist for the sole purpose of making these experiences possible.

If you are interested in applying for The University of Manchester Work Experience Bursary, visit our website for eligibility criteria, how to apply and information regarding COVID-19.

Got a question? Check out our FAQs or email careersbursary@manchester.ac.uk with your query and a member of the team will be happy to help.

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