Outer Temple boosts pupillage cash by 40% triggering fears of award inflation

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Exclusive: London set leapfrogs rivals as it charges near to top of national league table in remuneration for baby barristers


A fresh round of pupillage award inflation could hit London chambers after a leading set boosted the cash it hands out to wannabe barristers by 40%.

Legal Cheek has learnt that commercial set Outer Temple Chambers has increased its pupillage award from £43,000 to £60,000.

The move brings the chambers into the third tier in the pupillage award stakes. According to the Legal Cheek Chambers Most List, Outer Temple joins 13 other sets offering pupils £60,000 to join.

The top tier features just one set — 2 Temple Gardens, which at the beginning of the year ratcheted up its pupillage cash to £67,500.

Chasing in the second tier are six chambers — Fountain Court, 4 Pump Court, Quadrant, Wilberforce, XXIV Old Buildings and 11 Stone Buildings — offering £65,000.

Outer Temple’s rush of generosity sees the chambers leap frog seven sets on the list that offer between £45,000 and £55,000 awards.

The Outer Temple move will put pressure on those sets to keep up with the competition, as well as casting a spotlight on 7 Bedford Row, which is looking increasingly mean for a London chambers with a considerable commercial practice, as it offers awards worth only £40,000.

James Counsell, Outer Temple’s head of pupillage, told Legal Cheek that the dramatic increase was spurred by the “competitive market place”, commenting:

“Historically, we have been fortunate enough to attract and retain pupils of the highest calibre. That said, we wish to make sure that we continue to attract the most talented candidates to be our colleagues in the future … We reviewed the level of the award and decided an increase was appropriate, particularly given the ever increasing amount of commercial and financial services work we undertake and the continuing success of our common law practice groups.”

Outer Temple — which is home to 17 silks, 62 juniors and offers three annual pupillages — stipulates that at most 25% of the £60,000 award can be drawn down for Bar Professional Training Course fees.

Applications for pupillage at most chambers, including Outer, can be made from next month when the centralised Pupillage Gateway opens for business on 1 April.

Want to know more about the top chambers, including what they pay and how Oxbridge-dominated they are? The Legal Cheek top 30 chambers Most List has all the answers.