5 Essex Court boosts pupil award by 38% as London sets continue to splash the cash

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Exclusive: Rookie barrister pay now £55,000

Police and public law specialist 5 Essex Court has become the latest London set to chuck extra cash at its baby barristers, Legal Cheek can reveal.

The Temple-based chambers now offers a pupillage award of £55,000, a healthy increase of £15,000 or 38%. It offers up to two pupillages each year and is currently home to 42 barristers, including seven silks.

Head of chambers Jason Beer QC said:

“As part of chambers’ continued commitment to its pupils, I am delighted to announce a significant increase in our financial offering to £55,000, including a substantial element of guaranteed earnings in the second six months. This will enable us to continue to recruit the very best candidates, regardless of their background.”

The move puts 5 Essex Court’s pupils on a pay par with their peers at the likes of Hardwicke, Enterprise Chambers and One Crown Office Row. Legal Cheek’s Chambers Most List 2017-18 shows that the top pupillage award continues to be provided by construction law specialist Atkin Chambers, which bumped rookie barrister remuneration by 20% to £72,500 back in 2015. Sitting just below Atkin with pupillage awards of £70,000 are commercially-focused trio 2 Temple Gardens, 4 Pump Court and Henderson Chambers.

5 Essex Court’s pay uplift follows similar recent moves by other London sets.

Earlier this month, Legal Cheek revealed that Henderson Chambers had bumped pupillage pay by 40% to £70,000. Meanwhile, planning law specialist Francis Taylor Building and commercial all-rounder 39 Essex Chambers increased rookie remuneration to £60,000, boosts of 33% and 14% respectively. At the same time, pupil wedge at both 7 Bedford Row and No5 Chambers was raised to £50,000.

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£55k in pupillage year is £5k more than any law firms pay their trainees, and if you are any good will then rise substantially and rapidly. Further evidence that the real money and talent is at the Bar.


Not Amused

I think this is unhelpful and silly.

Both professions can be highly remunerative. Both can also be pretty rubbish. Young people should research the areas they are interested in, gain credible knowledge and then make informed decisions.

This eternal focus on a dichotomy is unworthy of lawyers. The press are obsessed with good and evil; black v white; victims v monsters. In reality there are only shades of grey.



Between them, all of the chambers paying this sort of money to pupils take fewer pupils than one MC takes in trainees. In reality, there are great solicitors and bad solicitors, and there are great barristers and bad barristers. And if money is the main issue, then there are at least a couple of thousand partners in London earning far more (>£1m) than the average silk. Not that that has anything to do with how good a lawyer they are so much as their connections and a bit of luck.



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



£55k at the start of your career is a great wage.

They will not stay at £55k all their career.



Why is your list not comprehensive? Surely it’s not difficult?



It’s important people understand that this is an “award”, not a salary. It is paid gross of tax and it represents the repayment for many people of lots of debt and years of scrimping without any money at all.

Additionally, it serves as a fund to set up a new tenant in the first few years of practice.

It’s certainly, though, good money in your early twenties.


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