11KBW ups pupillage award from £55,000 to £65,000

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By Alex Aldridge on

But top commercial set still pays £7,500 less than most generous chambers


The chambers which former prime minister Tony Blair founded back in his days as a barrister has increased its pupillage award by £10,000.

11KBW, which has since developed into a high-end commercial and employment law set, will now pay its baby barristers £65,000 — up from £55k.

The move takes it onto a par with the likes of One Essex Court and Essex Court Chambers — both of which raised their awards recently but by a more modest proportion, going from £60,000 to £65,000.

That leaves only two chambers at the bar of England and Wales which pay more than this group: 2 Temple Gardens, where pupils get £67,500, and Atkin Chambers, whose pupillage award is a market-leading £72,500.

These awards are enormous amounts to pay students just out of law school, with the sums made even greater by the fact that the first six months of pupillage are usually tax fee.

But those feeling envy at top commercial chambers’ generosity can console themselves that only a handful of super high achievers ever get their hands on such cash. 11KBW offers only three pupillages per year, an amount dwarfed by the approximately 100 training contracts given out annually by magic circle law firms.

If taken on as tenants, 11KBW pupils can expect to earn much more in the years ahead, with average revenue per barrister at the set well over £300,000 — substantially less than some uber commercial sets, but still a lot of money.

The new £65,000 award won’t kick in until 2017, meaning 11KBW pupils starting next year will miss out on the extra cash. But anyone who bags a pupillage with the set in the 2016 application round — and then starts in 2017, as is the norm at 11KBW — will benefit from the additional £10,000.

The advance “drawdown” of its pupillage award that 11KBW offers future pupils for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) year remains unchanged at £15,000.

Who pays most? The Chambers Most List [Legal Cheek]