It was revealed this week that Bar Professional Training Course applications had risen to over 3000. That's despite the number of pupillary places falling - there were just 446 first six pupillages this year.

Wednesday marked the publication of the Bar Council and Bar Standards Board's joint "Bar Barometer", packed with fun statistics about those who are applying to Bar school. And, revealingly, the background, educational attainment, family pedigree and indebtedness of those who go on to succeed. Check out the whole report here.

Getting pupillage has always been a tough proposition (to say nothing of the second cull when tenancy is handed out). Years of enormous oversupply of young barristers means that there are fistfuls of candidates for every job. Yet despite the overwhelming statistical battle faced by candidate, and the dire warnings pronounced by the Bar, there are more and more students lining up to hand over their £16,000+. 3,100 filled in the forms for 2010/11 (and paid £40 for the pleasure), up from 2,657 the year before. The number of first six pupillages was just 446.

  Lambs to the slaughter

However, there are signs that the years of unfettered recruitment by the big corporate law schools are coming to an end. Aptitude testing (piloted in the past couple of years, and to be properly introduced for 2012) and more rigorous entrance requirements (led by the highly-successful Kaplan) mean that only 1,618 of the applicants got on the course. That's a success rate of only 52%, down from 67% the year before.

Some of those 1,618 (perhaps up to a third) will be overseas students, and will head home to practice once called to the bar. And 20% or thereabout will fail. But that will still leave around 1,000 new barristers chasing 446 first six pupillages, fighting not only their classmates, but also those who passed the BPTC in the previous five years and remain jobless.

For a more detailed crunch of the numbers, read FrankAtRoF's blog.

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