Revealed: The best chambers for training and quality of work 2021

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By Maya Ffrench-Adam on

The results of Legal Cheek’s latest Junior Barrister Survey are in

A number of chambers have been commended for their training and quality of work off the back of Legal Cheek’s exclusive survey of over 600 junior barristers.

The findings are based on two questions put to rookies at the leading sets across England and Wales. They were asked to rate the training they received from one to ten, with one described as ‘very poor’, and ten being described as ‘excellent’. Rookies were also asked how stimulating their work is, on a sliding scale of ‘not at all stimulating’ to ‘highly stimulating’.

A total of six chambers feature in the shortlist for both categories. They are 4 New Square , 4 Pump Court, 5 Essex Court, Blackstone Chambers, Radcliffe Chambers, and Serjeants’ Inn Chambers.

Below are the results listed alphabetically:

Best chambers for training 2021

2 Temple Gardens
4 New Square
4 Pump Court
5 Essex Court
Blackstone Chambers
Hailsham Chambers
Henderson Chambers
Keating Chambers
Radcliffe Chambers
Serjeants’ Inn Chambers

The 2021 Chambers Most List – featuring the Legal Cheek Survey results in full

Best chambers for quality of work 2021

4 New Square
4 Pump Court
5 Essex Court
Blackstone Chambers
Brick Court Chambers
Cornerstone Barristers
Devereux Chambers
Fountain Court Chambers
Kings Chambers
Landmark Chambers
Radcliffe Chambers
Serjeants’ Inn Chambers
Wilberforce Chambers

As part of this year’s survey, we also received hundreds of anonymous comments from junior barristers about the training they received. Here are a select few from some of the chambers listed above:

How would you describe the training you have received?

“The training in chambers never stops. Fantastic advocacy training, an annual internal lecture series where more senior members pass on their knowledge to all members of chambers and regular informal chats lead to a brilliant culture of learning within chambers.”

“Pupillage was exceptional, no other way to put it. Each of my supervisors were incredibly supportive and encouraging and have continued to be.”

“My pupil supervisors were fantastic, patient and skilled at disseminating what they knew — and importantly not freaked out by having a pupil arrive who was older than them! I still have an example of a pleading from one of them that I use as a model for brevity and effectiveness.”

“Chambers runs a dedicated in-house pupillage training programme, involving advocacy exercises in front of senior members of chambers and High Court judges. Each piece of work done in pupillage also receives individual written feedback which is collated and reviewed over the year. A mentoring scheme provides continuing support and guidance throughout the first few years of tenancy. The quality of work available at all levels provides the best on-the-job training you can get.”

“Pupillage was excellent. The supervisors were leaders in their fields and the overall supportive and welcoming approach to pupillage was much appreciated. I wouldn’t be the practitioner I am today without the training I went through, and so much of my written and oral advocacy is a (hopefully good) reflection of my supervisors’ and other colleagues’ own work.”

How stimulating is the work you do?

“What’s not to like? Constantly changing law; need to understand a number of different areas of law, including public law, company law, trust law, procedural law, etc.”

“The range of work in my practice is huge and offers me a series of challenges in completely unconnected fields. End of life cases (whether incapacitated patients should be given treatment); transgender issues — acting for the child of the first trans man in the UK to give birth; fertility cases — where treatment goes wrong (swapped test tubes etc); GMC disciplinary cases (a range of cases from doctors euthanising patients to sleeping with them); acting for HNW individuals where capacity/vulnerability issues arise — recently acting for a foreign Royal in a high-profile divorce etc. There is never a dull moment.”

“Totally absorbing: every case is like a massive chess match. Cutting edge law, global clients and v high stakes: what’s not to like? It’s why you come to the bar. I have been in two other silver circle sets — my set is the best by miles.”

“I’m a junior member of chambers but regularly get instructed in cases that make national and international headlines. The areas of law we are working in are at the forefront of public debate. I am constantly involved in cases that make new law.”

“I spent this week on two cases: (1) preparing a defence for a multi-million-pound property dispute involving negligence and breach of fiduciary which will go to a big trial in the Rolls Building, with big City firms and multiple barristers on both sides; and (2) being admitted to the bar of the British Virgin Islands and conducting a Zoom hearing in the BVI Commercial Court for the liquidator of an international business with claims in multiple Caribbean jurisdictions. That kind of week is not unusual in chambers — for silks or juniors.”

Aspiring pupils at the above elite sets should know the Pupillage Gateway, the centralised system to submit your application for pupillage, closes on Monday 8 February.

The winning chambers in each category will be announced at the Legal Cheek Awards 2021 taking place virtually on Thursday 25 March.

The 2021 Chambers Most List – featuring the Legal Cheek Survey results in full

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