Top barristers’ chambers raises pupillage award by over 40% to £100,000

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By Legal Cheek on


Exclusive: Gray’s Inn Tax Chambers becomes first set to guarantee new graduates six figures in their first year

A leading tax chambers in London has become the first set to offer a guaranteed six-figure award to graduates fresh out of law school.

Gray’s Inn Tax Chambers — made up of just 12 members — has boosted baby barrister pay to £100,000, equating to a hefty rise of £30,000 (or 43%) from £70,000. The set is looking to offer up to two pupillages next year, with an advanced drawdown option of £25,000 to cover bar course fees.

It’s actually not uncommon for pupils at leading commercial chambers to earn north of £100k, with a pupillage award of £75,000 or thereabouts frequently topped up by second six earnings. We are told these earnings can be in excess of £30,000, but there is no guarantee that rookies will make this amount.

By contrast, Gray’s Inn Tax runs a ‘non-practicing second-six’, which means pupils do not have the option to top up their award with additional earnings during their second six months of training.

The 2021 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List

The set’s £100,000 award far exceeds new starter pay for trainee solicitors at law firms. As detailed in The Legal Cheek Firms Most List, the highest paying law firms in London for trainees are US duo Davis Polk and Weil Gotshal & Manges, which offer first years £60,000. This amount soars to around £160,000 once the rookies have qualified, but that process takes two years.

The Legal Cheek Chambers Most List 2022 shows a raft of sets offer the top £75k rate (excluding second six earnings), including 3 Verulam Buildings, Blackstone Chambers, Brick Court Chambers, Essex Court Chambers, Fountain Court Chambers and Monckton Chambers.

The picture is of course very different for legal aid-funded sets, where many pupil and junior barristers struggle to earn the minimum wage.

If you are interested in finding out more about life as a barrister and meeting pupils and tenants from sets across the country, including Gray’s Inn Tax Chambers, come along to our Virtual Pupillage Fair on Saturday 8 October 2022. Apply now.

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