BSB boosts minimum pay for pupil barristers following annual review

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£18,866 in London and £16,322 elsewhere — from 1 January 2020

Minimum pupillage awards across England and Wales are set to rise again following an annual review, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) has confirmed.

The bar regulator announced this week that chambers in London will have to pay their budding barristers at least £18,866, while those outside the capital will receive a minimum of £16,322. The rises are effective from 1 January 2020.

The fresh uplifts follow the BSB’s announcement in spring 2018 that rookie barrister pay would be brought in line with salaries recommended by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF), an independent organisation that promotes fair pay across the UK.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List

The minimum pupillage award first took effect from 1 September 2019 and was set at £18,436 per annum for pupillages in London and £15,728 per annum for pupillages outside London. These minimum awards have now been bumped by 2% and 4%, respectively.

Oliver Hanmer, BSB director of regulatory operations, said:

“This increase to the minimum pupillage award reaffirms the BSB’s commitment to ensuring that training for the bar is more accessible, affordable and flexible while sustaining high standards.”

Prior to the BSB’s commitment, the minimum chambers could pay their pupils was £12,000.

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Kirkland NQ

Lol I spent £16,322 on cleaning the chandeliers in my Chelsea townhouse last week.



Brothers! Sisters!

Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn will tax this greed to pay for a green new deal and higher wages in the public sector!!

Free movement for Muslims!!! Metropolitan elites should be taxed and harried from public life!!





Do you want a Barbour jacket and black lab to go with that? The bar is for the wealthy and landed these days. Go for City law – much more security.



Really? Because I pulled in £250k after expenses in my first year and took five weeks off over summer.





Reality Check

Indeed. Stop fueling the BPTC shareholder’s profits.

Barrister Earnings:

The figures are before VAT and expenses as it is the gross turnover that the BSB use to calculate your PC Band. So as profits the split was:-

Under £20,000 : 16%
£20,000 to £40,000 : 19%
£40,000 to £60,000 : 19%
£60,000 to £100,000 : 22%
£100,00 to £160,000 : 11%
Over £160,000 : 16%.

76% of barristers (and thats all barristers not just junior ones) make a profit of £100k or less.

The 0.5% of students who land a top commercial pupillage probabley will bill £100 to £150k in their first year. But billing is not the same as fees paid as it takes a couple of years to get to a steady state cash-flow. 1st year in a commercial set you’d make a profit of more like £80k. You’d get to about £200k profit by 3 or 4 years call.

“Turnover is vanity. Profit is sanity.” And you won’t turnover £250 as a baby barrister.



If you did this for professional footballers, you would probably get “over £160,000” 5%. And we know the best earn many times that. A baby barrister in one of the top end sets can easily get £300k ex VAT in a year. I know you cut and paste this survey every so often, but you are using the earnings of Dagenham and Redbridge players when we are talking about Chelsea and Man City.


Think how easy it is for a law student to get into a top-paying (110+) US law firm when or after they train vs ease getting into the top sets.


You are fake news.



If you want to say 0.1% of two year call barristers earn £300k plus then that is entirely true and fine. Whilst you keep saying that this is in some way typical of the Bar, then I’ll keep posting the actual earnings of barristers to correct the misleading impression you are giving. That isn’t what the 30% of Bar Students who ever manage to get pupillage will in fact earn. Its not a question of what different professional football players may earn. All of those who have qualified as barristers at all have already massively beaten the odds. They are by definition the top 30% of students. And only half of them even made it to tenancy.

Its not a survey. If you were actually a barrister you would know what the BSB return is as you’d have submitted it with your PC application last March. It is the actual income for all barristers. Some of those in the <£20k bracket will be retired who just do a few cases are year, this is true. Some will also be juniors in crime or common law sets.

But. When the vast majority of actual real barristers earn way less than £100k, posting as if earning £300k at two year call is misleading students.

The analogy isn’t to football. The analogy is to you telling Drama & Theatre students that they should all put themselves £50k in debt as once they are qualified they’ll make two million a movie. That isn’t untrue in terms of what certain Hollywood stars make. But is untrue in terms of what the small of Drama & Theatre who succeed in working as professional actors at all make.

The better information was posted on Legal Cheek a few weeks ago. Even Oxbridge Law Graduates make an average of £60k a year, five years after graduating in Law. Typical Russel Group Law Graduate was more like £45k. So telling students they'll make £300k two years after graduating is plainly bollocks.

As long as students keep believing this sort of shit, they will be a lot of very in debt and disappointed millennials


Bruce Wayne

Oi chippy, the poster just said they earned £250k, they did not say it was typical. You should read more closely.



No retard. I’m posting the actual figures that barristers actually earn The first year student whose mummy told him he could be a comerical barrister if he just tried really hard posted saying he earnt £300k. As most silks do not earn that I am calling him out as a lair. Put yourself £50k in debt. Do Bar School. Do not get pupillage and then whine like a little girl that you do not have a pupillage and only make £15k as a paralegal. But have it your own way. You are a special snowflake and although most silks do not earn what the average barrister on legal cheek claims to earn, it will really happen for you. Just close your eyes and wish. Don’t forget when it hasn’t worked out for you to post on LC how all other barristers are all liberal elites etc. Enjoy your mummy’s basment.



You do like the straw man argument don’t you? The football analogy above seems spot on. The newest juniors do make that much in the top commercial and commercial chancery sets, but only the top 3 or 4 of each set and probably only 50% of those barristers. There seems no evidence that the OP is making it up. Rather your response is Trump like in its belittling of the comment, calling it out, probably falsely as fake news. Most barristers, spread across the country, mainly doing crime, family, social benefits works, do earn pretty much nothing. But some do make “jackpot” type incomes even in the early days. And even at £800 an hour and £10k day rates, which are both not near the top of the costing pile, silks do not need to do that much work to earn multiples of £300k.



The BSB statistics do not work in favour of your argument.

What’s more, the O.G OP @ 10:58am started a sentence with “because”, suggesting that he or she is not a barrister at all, let alone one making the fantasy sums of money he or she claims. That means this heated debate is based entirely on bollocks.


You are a forensic failure

Oh dear, what a sad individual 11.13am is. Because someone started a sentence with “because” they cannot be a barrister! Next they will be talking about split infinitives. There was nothing wrong with what 10:58 said or how it was said, and your comment says more about your own prejudices and ignorance than anything else. I suspect your obsessive position means you do not have much direct experience of incomes at the the highest earning sets. Out of the 16,000 odd barristers, they make up probably 2% or 3% of the profession and your beloved table does not really identify earnings among the top couple of percentile points does it?



Don’t insult my beloved table.

Also, being of an obsessive disposition is rather helpful at the Bar.

A Barrister

Definitely agree on the ‘because’ thing. So the second someone qualifies, they have to ensure every comment they post on Legalcheek is grammatically perfect?

As to the substance of his comment – I have friends who just became tenants at ‘top’ commercial and commercial chancery sets. None of them expect to earn anywhere near £250k this year. £100k is apparently very doable.

Particularly given that those sets don’t generally have a practising second six and it’s going to take a few months for the money to come in, I call bullshit on the claim that you’d get £250k in your very first year of practice. In the unlikely event that anon was literally the only one in the country who managed to do so, congrats though!

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