There are four Inns: Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Gray’s Inn and Lincoln’s Inn. The Inns award scholarships for the BPTC.
For anyone wishing to pursue the BPTC in 2018, it is worthwhile to apply for the Inns of Court scholarships. I say this from personal experience. There were a couple of people that discouraged me along the way. They said I would have a difficult time establishing to an Inn that I was committed to pursuing a career at the English Bar since I had just transferred from a Malaysian University, I had not done any UK based work experience, and I am a Kenyan citizen. The reason I am sharing this is because I want all those people that are in the same boat as I was to not pay any heed to such comments and to apply. I knew that at the time of my application I didn’t have any UK based work experience but I was committed to pursuing a career here so I applied for mini-pupillages and managed to do one before my interview in March and I lined some up for the summer. If you are in the same boat, you can do this too (read my article on How to apply for mini-pupillages for further information) or you can find other ways to demonstrate your commitment to the Bar (e.g. applying for pupillages). What my experience may suggest is that the Inns are looking for a certain criteria in people and as long as you can demonstrate you have what it takes, it seems like it really doesn’t matter where you’re from. In fact, had I listened to such discouraging comments, I would not have been able to pursue the Bar this year and thanks to the Inner Temple, I am now able to live my dreams – I am forever indebted to them!
Now on to the application process – each Inns website has detailed information on how to apply for the scholarships. I will link each Inns website and I will link a couple of websites which will help you decide which Inn to apply to for a scholarship BUT remember, you can only apply to ONE! Please keep in mind that the deadline for applications is 3rd of November 2017 and the interviews will happen next year – usually around March.
To understand a bit about the Inns of Court Scholarships better, I would recommend reading this article
For a comparison of different Inns scholarships, I would recommend reading:
- https://www.lawcareers.net/Barristers/Inns-of-Court-Scholarships [and clicking on each Inn on the left hand side to go to their website and for further information on the scholarships]
- http://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/the-bar/the-inns-of-court-compared [and then for further information on each Inns scholarship, clicking on the “The Bar” tab on the top of the page and then clicking on the “Inns of court reviewed” and then clicking on each Inns profile individually]
These are links to each Inns website, where all the detailed information about their scholarships can be found:
- Grays Inn: https://www.graysinn.org.uk/education/scholarships
- Lincoln’s Inn: http://www.lincolnsinn.org.uk/index.php/education/scholarships
- Inner Temple: https://www.innertemple.org.uk/becoming-a-barrister/scholarships/bptcawards/
- Middle Temple: http://www.middletemple.org.uk/education-and-training/scholarships-and-prizes
When I applied for the scholarship, there were a couple of things I learnt:
- Ask yourself whether you are better on paper or in interviews. Inner Temple and Middle Temple interview each and every candidate regardless of what you put in your application form, whereas Gray’s and Lincoln’s Inn short list you for interviews. So if you think you are better on paper, I would suggest applying to the latter two whereas if you feel you perform better in interviews then I would recommend applying to the former two.
- The awards are based on merit but once it has been established that a candidate is worthy of an Award, Inner Temple and Middle Temple do look at the candidates financial situation to decide the amount of the Award.
- You have to bear in mind that you must be committed to having a career at the Bar of England and Wales. I am not sure about all the Inns, but for the Inner Temple website states “all award winners will be asked, as a condition of receiving their award, to give an undertaking to repay the whole (or such part as the Scholarships Committee may in its discretion determine) of the money that they have received, if they do not diligently attempt (i) if not already qualified) to do all such things as will enable them to become qualified to practise at the Bar of England and Wales; and thereafter (ii) to practise at that Bar for a continuous period (save for periods attributable to pregnancy, ill health or other factors outside their control) of at least 3 years“.
- Ask your personal tutor and your career teachers for their advise regarding the form and how to prepare for the interview.
- When I filled in my application form, I learnt that its important to give an answer they are looking for. I’ll explain this using an example. The application form required us to give an answer to the question “Skills & attributes that make you suitable for the Bar”. I initially answered this as – ambitious, dedicated, analytical and I planned on explaining these skills further by giving evidence of each of these skills based on my previous experiences. However, I was advised that the best way to go forward with this question is to go back to the Inns website and have a look at the skills THEY are looking for. So for e.g. if the Inns criteria is for scholarship is intellectual ability, motivation, interpersonal skills, then list these skills down on your application form and DEMONSTRATE how you have them by using evidence of your achievements and experiences. I was also advised to use bullet points for such a question and keep it brief rather than put it into one big paragraph.
- You can’t afford to make spelling mistakes on your application form. I would recommend getting as many people to read your application to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
- Each Inns application process may vary – when I applied last year, Inner Temple required us to submit online applications whereas some Inns require you to send your applications via post.
- Try to get very good references.
I will share my interview experience and all the resources I used to prep for my interview in the future. But for now I would suggest to work on your application form as soon as possible as the deadline is approaching.
All the best, and please do not hesitate to message me should you have any queries!
*** I do not own this image. I got it from the https://www.recok.coop/content/scholarships website
*** The information in this article is true to the best of my knowledge but it is based on my research. I will not be held liable for any reliance on what I have said in this article. It is up to you to do further research and confirm the information in the article.