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Old Square Chambers ups pupil pay by a quarter in London and Bristol

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Exclusive: Rookies will now earn £50,000

Old Square Chambers has become the latest set to chuck extra cash at its pupil barristers.

The employment and personal injury law specialist now offers a pupillage award of £50,000, equating to an impressive increase of £10,000 or 25%. Old Square takes on two pupils each year — one in London and one in Bristol — and is currently home to more than 60 junior barristers and 14 silks.

Legal Cheek’s 2018 Chambers Most List shows that Old Square’s baby barristers are now pulling in the same levels of cash as their peers at a raft of other sets including: 12 King’s Bench Walk, 7 Bedford Row, 9 Gough Square, Cornerstone Barristers, Devereux Chambers, Hailsham Chambers, Matrix Chambers and No5 Chambers.

However, top pupil payer bragging rights remain firmly with Atkin Chambers. In 2015 the construction-geared commercial practice increased its award from £60,000 to a whopping £72,500 (20%). Sitting just below it on awards of £70,000 are 2 Temple Gardens, 4 Pump Court and Henderson Chambers.

The 2018 Chambers Most List

Interestingly Old Square — whose members acted in the constructive dismissal case involving former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro — has confirmed to Legal Cheek that London and Bristol rookies will receive the same £50,000 award. This is unlike City law firms who traditionally pay their London trainees far more than their regional counterparts, at least partly due to the higher living costs associated with the capital.

Old Square isn’t the only set to have recently increased its pupillage pay.

On Tuesday, Legal Cheek reported that Serjeants’ Inn Chambers had increased its award to £55,000, a hefty rise of £10,000 or 22%. The clinical negligence and police law specialist take on takes on two pupils each year, and accepts applications exclusively through the Pupillage Gateway. The Bar Council-operated system opened in January and closes on 7 February.

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19 Comments

Employment Pupillage Applicant

As someone hoping to practise in employment and professional discipline, I’d be very interested to hear from established practitioners what the career trajectory looks like at a good employment set like Old Sq. For example, what sort of work do juniors under 5 years’ call undertake, 10 years, 15 years, silk etc?

I would also be very interested to get an insight into what sort of earnings barristers in these areas, with busy practices, can expect at the previously set out years of call. The fact that Old Sq and Cloisters are offering decent pupillage awards is encouraging. Of course, I’m aware that the money is not like it is in commercial/chancery sets, but presumably one could still make good money in employment/professional discipline (with some PI), and not be subject to the financial worries of those in areas like crime and family.

I would very much appreciate the input of employment/pro discipline practitioners on this. Thanks.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

You should make (as in, receive) 100-150k/annum after a year or two.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Can anyone verify this?

(0)(0)

The Bar Necessities

Anecdotally, that’s about right. From the handful of people I know in that area of work, it might be more realistic to aim to cross £100k turnover (receipts) in the second year after pupillage. Aged debt will, by that stage, run in the £30–50k range (a small amount of which will be bad debt), although the level of aged debt will depend on how much of your practice is insurance-backed.

Revenue will be more than that (c.£125–150k), but unless you subscribe to the “money is a way of keeping score” mindset, I’m assuming you’re asking about receipts and not work done.

(2)(0)

Gavin

Someone in another thread is claiming 150-250k for 15+ year juniors in employment sets. Any way to reconcile the two claims?

(2)(0)

An unelected senile horse

Wow that’s almost as much as I make and I’m in my 70s

(2)(0)

Anonymous

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

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Fat lot of use that will do them. It’s such dross work. The best will always go to the commercial and Chancery sets.

(4)(5)

MA (Cantab), BCL

Many of the best minds I knew at university were most interested in the kinds of issues raised by public law, which I do not believe to be a controversial statement, and certain aspects of employment law e.g. equalities and discrimination, and collective labour law i.e. strike action.

I don’t think that anyone would dispute the earning power of those at commercial or chancery sets. It is probably also correct to say that the work, for the most part, is more complex than other practice areas. Still, the commercial and chancery barristers I have come across, in contrast to those working in public and employment, have truly abysmal people skills.

(5)(1)

Alex Aldridge BA(dunhelm) GDL BVTC but still an unemployable middle aged prissy ...

I certainly was not interested by commercial issues, which is why I didn’t get a commercial pupillage! Or any pupillage lmao!

(1)(1)

Anonymous

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(1)(1)

Anonymous

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(1)(0)

Anonymous

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(1)(0)

Anonymous

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(1)(0)

Anonymous

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Anonymous

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gavin from xxl

He’s middle aged, dumb and full of something after last night, if you know what I mean

Anonymous

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(1)(0)

Anonymous

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