Finding your X factor

Having assessed what you have to offer chambers by putting examples against competencies, you should now have a wealth of information to work with.

You should also have gained an appreciation of the fact that each work experience or voluntary activity that you have undertaken has (hopefully!) resulted in your learning the core skills necessary to become a barrister.

The next step is to look at all your experiences holistically.

What makes you special?

Have a look and see what ‘themes’ you can pull out of your experiences to date. Ask yourself: “What is it about me that stands out?”

Every successful candidate has an X factor

Those who succeed first are those who have figured out their X factor first…

To put it another way: what sets me apart from other candidates?”

  • It may be a combination of your work experiences.
  • It may be your advocacy performances in the past and at interview.
  • It may be a combination of all these things OR something else entirely.

Examples of that stand-out something else include one candidate who was a clown, and another who won 9/9 FRU cases. Whatever it is, the sooner you figure this out, the better. You are going to be making a pitch to chambers, so you need to know what it is that you have to offer. Bear in mind when you are testing out what your X factor might be, it not only needs to be true but you must believe it!

You should not leave this for later in the process

After all, if you don’t know why chambers should pick you over other candidates, they won’t know either.

So you’ve figured out your X factor

Now you need to make the most of it and use it to shine.

Remember that any question you are asked, no matter how it’s phrased, is getting you to answer the fundamental question at the heart of the interview: “why would you be a great barrister?’. That’s where your X factor comes in.

After this, you can start crafting your pitch to Simon Cowell chambers. 

Next page: Why do you want to be a barrister?