A voluntary clearing house for law graduates hoping to train as barristers has won the backing of some of Britain's most prestigious sets of chambers.
The Bar Council said this week it was relieved that many top commercial sets, such as Brick Court Chambers, Fountain Court and 1 Essex Court, were among the 112 firms that have agreed to the scheme, and few were among 31 that have declined.
A spokesman said this week it was expected that most of the "blue chip" sets would have pledged support by next Friday's deadline, allaying fears that they would stand back so they could poach the best students.
A pupillage handbook will be available from April containing an application form which graduates looking for pupillages in October 1997 or 1998 will be able to use to apply for training places with up to 20 firms, rather than having to write dozens of letters in the hope of securing a place.
Applicants will be notified on October 21 of any provisional offers, and whether they are also on the reserve list. By November there will be a pool of graduates who have not received offers, who will be able to go through the system's "clearing" scheme.