Henderson Chambers boosts pupillage award by 40% as it unveils new Caribbean secondment

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Exclusive: As a plethora of London sets bump rookie barrister pay

Commercial and common law specialist Henderson Chambers has increased its pupillage award to £70,000, Legal Cheek can reveal.

Up from £50,000, the major money move — which sees the Temple-based set become the joint second-highest pupillage payer in the country — equates to an increase of £20,000 or 40%. According to Legal Cheek’s 2017-18 Chambers Most List, Henderson takes on two pupils each year and now joins commercially-geared duo 2 Temple Gardens and 4 Pump Court in dishing out the impressive £70,000 figure.

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.

By way of a cross-profession comparison, the highest salary currently offered to aspiring City lawyers sits at £55,000, courtesy of US threesome Davis Polk & Wardwell, Kirkland & Ellis and Sullivan & Cromwell.

The large award uplift comes as Henderson reveals a new international secondment, a training tool normally reserved for trainees at large corporate law firms. The set has confirmed its pupils will have an opportunity to hone their barrister skills in the sun soaked British Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“We have decided to refresh our pupillage offering, with an increase in our award and a new secondment to the Caribbean,” a spokesperson for Henderson told Legal Cheek. He continued:

We have always offered an overseas secondment but this year decided to change tack to Griffiths and Partners in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Conrad Griffiths QC is a former member of chambers and pupils will spend four weeks with him and his partners during their second six. The idea is for our pupils to be exposed to different ways of working in another jurisdiction, in order to broaden their professional outlook and the service we can provide to our clients in the future.

Henderson has confirmed that pupils’ flights and accommodation are covered by chambers.

Elsewhere at the bar, a plethora of other sets have upped pupillage awards.

First up, Francis Taylor Building. The planning law set has upped pupil pay by £15,000 to £60,000, a rise of 33%. The Temple-based chambers offers two training positions each year, according to its Most List profile.

Meanwhile, awards at 39 Essex Chambers are up by 14% to £60,000. The commercially-focused set — which has outposts in Manchester, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur — offers three pupillages annually. Finally, pupil wedge at both 7 Bedford Row and No5 Chambers is up by £10,000 (25%), taking final awards to £50,000. Each set currently takes on two pupils a year.

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Commercial barrister

You earn far more at the Commercial Bar than in law firms. That is where the real (and only) lawyers are in this country. Solicitors at the Magic Circle, Kirkland et al are just jumped up clerks.



Commercial barristers are weird. Rich yes, but more often than not social outcasts who smell.






And marry fatties :S



You jumped on this weirdly quickly with the usual refrain that the Bar = more dough, even though for about 99.9% of people, this is now untrue.

Almost as if there’s something you’re anxious to defend. Something gradually slipping from the barristers’ collective fingers.



Overuse of the word “plethora”



Henderson, 2TG and 4 Pump Court are not really commercial chambers – any serious candidate knows that.

There is no way that a candidate is going to turn down the likes of Brick, Fountain, 3VB, OEC just for a couple of extra grand during pupillage.

Woefully desperate.



I think there is a point that these silk factories have the pick of the best each year, and the gap in earnings and access to High Court and appellate work at those sets is now so large that it’s going to get worse.

This is a good initiative – fair play to Henderson



The High Court does occassionally allow work other than commercial work to darken its doors.



How so? Because all the appellate work gets gobbled up by the QCs?



How long will it be before a set like 3VB gets absorbed into a magic circle firm?



Is that true? Commercial is a broad term and shouldn’t be limited to big Financial Services (e.g. Magic Circle). The Commercial (and formerly Mercantile?) Court embraces a large scope of work outside just the Financial Markets list (£50mil + which appears to be the exclusive domain of Fountain Court etc) and many of these sets do work in these Courts.

Commercial just means Claims in the Commercial/Mercantile Court and certainly many set undertake a broad range of work in that jurisdiction outside just the Magic Circle.


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