Exchange Chambers sets record with eight pupillage spots

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By Colleen Cumbers on


‘Northern powerhouse’ ramps up rookie barrister recruitment

Exchange Chambers has made a record eight pupillage offers this year, all of which have been accepted.

A big player on the Northern and North Eastern circuits, Exchange operates across a range of practice areas, from crime to commercial disputes. Made up of 200 members, including 24 silks, it is one of the largest sets in the country.

Over the past couple of years, the so-called ‘Northern powerhouse’ set, which has premises in Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds, has offered six 12-month pupillages. This year, however, it has increased its offering to eight, making it a record-number for both the set itself and, it appears, the bar more widely.

The Legal Cheek Chambers Most List 2022 shows other top pupillage providers include No5 Chambers (six), Brick Court (five) and One Essex Court (five) and St Philips Chambers (five/six).

The newly-recruited future pupils are split across crime, family, common law, and commercial, as well as across the three locations. They will join what the set calls their pupillage academy, launched in 2019.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List 2022

Exchange’s chief executive, Jonathan l’Anson, told Legal Cheek that, “as one of the largest and most well-resourced chambers, we are recruiting across all locations, practice areas and levels of seniority. Investing in our pupillage academy is very much part of our ongoing expansion strategy”.

Of the eight future pupils, five are female. They include a Durham University law graduate and an English graduate from the University of St Andrews. Some are still in bar school whilst others are joining the bar from different careers, including a former communications professional who worked for the General Medical Council. One clearly already has a good insight into the North Eastern circuit, having worked as a clerk at Park Square Barristers in Leeds for two years after completing the BPTC.

The current pupillage award at Exchange is £12,950 for the first six, followed by guaranteed earnings of £12,000 during the second six.

Statistics published earlier this year by the Bar Standard Board showed there were 511 pupil barristers at the end of 2021, compared with a record low 354 in pandemic-scarred 2020.

If you are interested in finding out more about life as a barrister and meeting pupils and tenants from sets across the country, come along to our Virtual Pupillage Fairs in October and December this year. Keep an eye on our Virtual Pupillage Fair page to see when registrations open.

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