Chambers boost pupillage awards in hunt for top grad talent

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By Rhys Duncan on

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Increases of as much as 40%


Many of the country’s leading chambers increased their pupillage awards ahead of the Gateway opening earlier this month, Legal Cheek can reveal.

The biggest increase came at Kings Chambers, a set with outposts in Manchester, Leeds, and Birmingham, which saw a pupillage award bump of 40%, up from £50,000 to £70,000. Close behind in percentage terms is 12 Kings Bench Walk, up 36% from £55,000 to £75,000 for those joining the set in 2025.

Other big increases have come at Serjeant’s Inn Chambers, 5 Essex Chambers, 4 New Square Chambers, Hailsham Chambers, 5 Stone Buildings, Outer Temple Chambers, Landmark Chambers, Keating Chambers, and Devereux Chambers, all increasing by a hefty £10,000 and now ranging between £65,000 and £85,000.

The 2024 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List

Meanwhile Ten Old Square and Crown Office Chambers have offered their newest recruits an extra top up of £15,000, with Exchange Chambers, Fountain Court Chambers, Henderson Chambers, Radcliffe Chambers, 3VB, and New Square Chambers all giving an extra £5,000.

Pump Court Tax have also raised their award by £7,500 to £75,000.

The award increases come as the Bar Standards Board’s annual report on diversity at the bar highlighted an increase in the number of current pupil barristers. In December 2023 there were 572 pupils across the bar, 84 higher than the same time in 2022, and the highest figure seen by the annual report first published in 2015.

The Legal Cheek Chambers Most List 2024 shows that there are now 13 sets that offer over £80,000, with a further 29 crossing over the £70,000 mark. Gray’s Inn Tax Chambers and Gough Square Chambers share the crown of highest award, offering £100,000 to their pupils.

Whilst some sets choose to give their pupils a fixed award, others opt to give a combination of an award and guaranteed minimum earnings in a pupil’s second six. Gray’s Inn Tax, for example, offer a fixed sum, whereas Gough Square split a pupil’s earnings 60:40 award to minimum guaranteed earnings.

These numbers are far higher in many cases than what top law firms offer their rookies. The highest first year trainee salary sits at a cool £60,000, offered by a host of the US law firm’s London offices. Salaries can climb north of £170,000 upon qualification, but that process takes two years.

The picture isn’t the same across the bar, however. Many sets, especially those practicing in the criminal field, offer the the minimum pupillage award. This is £23,078 for 12-month pupillages in London and £21,060 for pupillages outside London.

Pupillage awards: Which chambers pay what? 💷

Chambers Pupillage award
Gray’s Inn Tax Chambers £100,000
Gough Square Chambers £100,000
Crown Office Chambers £90,000
Keating Chambers £85,000
XXIV Old Buildings £85,000
4 New Square Chambers £85,000
2TG £82,500
Outer Temple Chambers £80,000
3VB £80,000
Tanfield Chambers £80,000
New Square Chambers £80,000
Fountain Court Chambers £80,000
4 Pump Court £80,000
Wilberforce Chambers £75,000
7KBW £75,000
Brick Court Chambers £75,000
Twenty Essex £75,000
South Square £75,000
5 Stone Buildings £75,000
Landmark Chambers £75,000
Littleton Chambers £75,000
Devereux Chambers £75,000
Henderson Chambers £75,000
Ten Old Square £75,000
Falcon Chambers £75,000
4 Stone Buildings £75,000
12 King’s Bench Walk £75,000
Selborne Chambers £75,000
Pump Court Tax Chambers £75,000
Quadrant Chambers £75,000
Monckton Chambers £75,000
Serle Court £75,000
Blackstone Chambers £75,000
Essex Court Chambers £75,000
11KBW £75,000
Radcliffe Chambers £70,000
39 Essex Chambers £70,000
Hailsham Chambers £70,000
Gatehouse Chambers £70,000
Kings Chambers £70,000
Serjeants’ Inn Chambers £70,000
Cornerstone Barristers £70,000
5 Essex Chambers £65,000
3 Hare Court £65,000
7BR £60,000
No5 Chambers £55,000
42BR Barristers £40,000
3PB £40,000
Exchange Chambers £30,000
The 2024 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List

1 Comment

Barrister

I don’t understand the decision to compare pupillage awards with trainee solicitors’ salaries. Pupillage awards are taxed completely differently, and pupils won’t have any of the benefits that trainee solicitors get (pension contributions, private health, statutory sick pay, etc.) It’s apples and oranges as far as I’m concerned.

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