The pupillage is the final stage of training to be a barrister (=a UK or Commonwealth a lawyer that is allowed to plead for a client in the lower and higher courts) in which students further develop what they have learned in the Bar Professional Training Course through practical work experience in a barristers’ chambers (=the rooms used by a barrister or to a group of barristers).
A pupillage is a one-year apprenticeship. During the first six months (called the first six) the pupil doesn’t practice any law. Rather, the pupil merely attends court proceedings and conferences with the pupil’s supervisor, observing how the supervisor attends to these tasks. In the second 6 months (the second six), the pupil takes on a practising role, taking responsibility for his or her own case load. The pupil must present cases in court and in some rare circumstances even handle jury trials. Note that in the UK, the only jury trials are those involving alleged crimes.
Pupillages are not easy to get. Only the best students with impressive extracurricular activities gain pupillages. However, they will not usually earn much money during this time (although they are guaranteed at least £1000 per month). Only pupillages at the top chambers are well paid.