The Legal Cheek View

2TG is a truly mixed set, with practice areas spanning civil and commercial work. Founded more than 70 years ago and now home to 63 barristers, the set has a leading reputation in many areas.

The breadth of work available at 2TG is something that is praised by the tenants. One junior tells us, “we get a good variety of work at the junior end, including some interesting and complex cases. There are also more routine cases — such as road traffic accidents and credit hire — but these are also quite stimulating if you enjoy advocacy because there is a lot of witness handling”. Another adds: “one day I might be researching a niche aviation insurance point, the next day drafting a defence in a claim brought for alleged failure to treat sepsis, and the day after that cross examining a witness at trial”. We are also told there is a good balance of court-based and paper-based work.

On the civil side, 2TG are well-regarded in personal injury, clinical negligence, product liability, professional negligence, and travel law — so there is certainly plenty of high-quality work to get stuck into. Whether it be acting for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in relation to the Grenfell Tower disaster or taking on a catastrophic birth injury claim, something of importance is always happening. As a pupil or baby junior, however, you may have to expect to spend a fair amount of time working on some simpler whiplash claims in county courts!

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On the commercial side of the set’s work, we are told there is a “great mix of ultra-high profile international work, combined with smaller commercial disputes run with smaller teams, which allow more advocacy and ‘driving-seat’ opportunities”. 2TG is one of the top sets for commercial dispute resolution, with members appearing in courts and arbitral tribunals of all levels, both in the UK and abroad. There is a great deal of insurance work, with members often working on issues such as jurisdiction and choice of law when it comes to international cases. Again, during your second six, you might be working on something a bit more basic, but this all allows you to develop the advocacy skills that you will rely on when later taking on the world in the Supreme Court.

With so much going on, how do you decide what sort of work to do? In terms of carving out a practice, one junior tenant tells us they “have a great opportunity to push my practice into areas I enjoy”. The range in size of cases that come through the clerks’ room means juniors can handle their own cases in the county courts, but also be led by a silk in the higher courts. One junior tells us they are “regularly working on leading cases in developing areas of law”. There is certainly plenty of cutting-edge work taking place. “From working on large group actions to appeals on technical points of law, it’s why I came to the Bar and I get to be doing it the way I want to”, one junior at the set informs us.

As an example of some of the work taking place, tenants Charles Dougherty KC and Lucas Fear-Segal successfully acted for the owners of an aircraft in a claim worth a whopping US$60m relating to a large private jet badly damaged in a hail storm. The case was the first substantive appeal ever to be heard by the Abu Dhabi Global Markets Court of Appeal. Meanwhile Christopher Lundie and Isabel Barter appeared against one another in a Court of Appeal case considering the test for “late” amendment as opposed to “very late” amendment which puts a trial date at risk. It must have gotten very technical!

With so much going on at 2TG, it is especially important that there is a supportive culture within the set. Fortunately, we are told that this is the case. One baby junior tells us: “I frequently pop in to people’s rooms and/or give them a call when I have a question or just need to talk things through. In almost all cases the person in question has made the time to help and that includes our silks — I’ve never felt uncomfortable asking them questions despite being very junior.” Many tenants cite the open door policy within chambers as a highlight of the set. 

In terms of work/life balance, tenants are generally fairly positive. Workloads are helped by the fact that “you can do what you like here, which is a freedom I don’t think other places have”, explains one member who booked out the entire month of August “without any issue being raised by the clerks”. Another tenant, who explains that they turn away a fair bit of work due to their strict personal rules on work/life balance, said: “The clerks have always been supportive of my approach — I rarely feel pressured to take on work that I don’t want to do.” Female tenants are also very supported by the set. Women make up over a third of its juniors and KCs with an insider telling us that it has never “lost” a woman after maternity leave. That’s backed by chambers’ mothers, one of whom says: “I have three young children and 2TG has been very supportive whilst I was off on maternity leave and when I returned each time.” A pro-flexible working mindset, and reasonable hours (for the bar!), helps in this respect. As expected however, life at the bar will, of course, feature “some late nights and weekends at times.”

With all this great work going on, is there any time for some socialising? One tenant tells us that social life is still recovering from the pandemic: “pre-pandemic we were incredibly lively, post-pandemic we are still trying to figure out what works best for everyone”. That said, we hear there is a Chambers tea every Wednesday (we’re told “a home-baked cake (or a thoughtfully chosen one from a bakery) will garner much admiration from colleagues!”) and Chambers drinks every Friday, as well as a book club. We also hear there is a chambers-wide party roughly every quarter. “It means you can socialise with work colleagues regularly (but not too regularly!)”, one 2TG rookie tells us. Even if something formal isn’t organised, we hear that members will often pop out for lunch or coffee together during the working day.

Members certainly have an ideal location if they wish to grab a coffee and sit in Inner Temple Gardens, which are right beside them. Located on the riverbank, 2TG have an “absolutely beautiful” Grade 2 listed building. One tenant tells us: “In my room, I can see the sun rise over the Thames and set over the House of Commons!” The slight downside of being in such an old building is that it has “a knack of being cold in winter and hot in summer”. One tenant also warns: “beware the visiting mice!” Another simply comments that the building “could do with a bit of updating on the inside…” – apparently, many of the rooms are in the process of being “smartened up”. Views on technology provision, meanwhile, are somewhat mixed: “the support provided by external contractors can be hit or miss”, one junior tells us.

When it comes to pupillage, 2TG offer an impressive £82,500 pupillage award. It is not just the money that is a key advantage of pupillage at 2TG: the training that pupils receive is also highly praised. One tenant told us that in the first week of their pupillage they received a series of masterclasses on professional skills and areas of law. Throughout the pupillage, they received regular feedback and were always told whether or not they were on track for tenancy. Another former pupil, now tenant, concurred that they felt “immensely supported” during pupillage. Somone who has recently gone through the process told us that there was plenty of feedback “with clear indication of “on track” or “off track”. Pupils’ preferences are also taken into account during pupillage so ‘mini seats’ are available to help shape practices.

2TG offers two to three pupillages a year. After applications through the Pupillage Gateway are marked, the 40 best applicants will be invited to a first-round interview which will include an advocacy exercise. The 12 highest-scoring interviewees will then be invited to complete a written exercise and attend a final round interview, which will include structured questions and a legal problem. 2TG lists its selection criteria as being: high intellectual ability, an ability to think on your feet, motivation, impact, temperament, and a commitment to 2TG. In brief, it is looking for people “who will build on our tradition of excellence”.

2TG particularly welcomes applications from candidates from groups which have been historically underrepresented at the Bar. They have a strong commitment to social responsibility, being a partner of the Inner Temple Pegasus Access Scheme, Bridging the Bar, and the Bar Placement Scheme. 2TG also runs the prestigious The Times 2TG Moot which is open to all students in tertiary education, whether law or non-law undergraduates, GDL students, or Bar Course students. The top prize is an impressive £1,500 for the winning pair! 2TG states that its competition, in its eighth year, is part of its commitment to social mobility and removing barriers to access to the Bar. 

What The Junior Barristers Say

Conor Ewing

Your journey to pupillage

I went to a comprehensive school in Glasgow and studied History, English and French at Advanced Higher (which is the Scottish equivalent of A-Levels!). Following school, I went to Wadham College, Oxford to study law. During my degree, I got involved in the college law society and did lots of mooting but also made sure I did some non-law related things such as playing for the College football and cricket teams. I ended up staying on at Wadham for an extra year to do the BCL before moving to London to do my BPTC at City University.

During my BPTC year, I did a number of mini-pupillages, mainly in different civil and commercial sets. This was really helpful in helping me decide which areas of law I enjoyed, as well as which chambers I could see myself being a part of. For example, seeing the contrast between life at a mixed civil set and a pure chancery set helped me realise that I wanted to be in court frequently but not every day.

I applied for pupillage during the BPTC year and was lucky enough to be offered pupillage at 2TG. I then spent the year between the BPTC and pupillage as a judicial assistant in the Court of Appeal. This was an incredibly rewarding experience (and I sometimes find more senior members of Chambers ringing me up to ask about procedure in the Court of Appeal!).

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The pupillage experience

I was drawn to 2TG for a number of a reasons, in particular the breadth of work, the quality of training, the opportunity to do advocacy early on in my career, and the collegiate nature of chambers’ life.

The pupillage year is split into three seats: the first two lasting three months and the final seat comprising the whole of the second six. All three of my supervisors’ practices covered the vast majority of Chambers’ specialisms – from clinical negligence to employment, from product liability to professional negligence and from personal injury to property damage. This allowed me to get involved in a wide range of cases during pupillage, including a multi-day hearing in the Jersey Employment Tribunal and a long running multi-million-pound property damage case (which I later became instructed in). Unlike many chambers, pupils at 2TG are closely involved in their supervisor’s work. Instead of simply undertaking research on legal points or working on papers, I was often tasked with working on pleadings, advices and skeleton arguments alongside my supervisor, which was very satisfying and made me feel like I was actually helping out!

Alongside day-to-day work with pupil supervisors, 2TG also provides structured training to help pupils hone their skills ready for practice. Our pupillage programme starts with two to three days of intensive induction covering key skills and chambers’ main areas of practice. Throughout the year, pupils also undertake a number of advocacy sessions run by members of chambers to prepare them for taking on their own cases. The training provided during pupillage undoubtedly equips pupils well for making the transition into independent practice.

In the second six, pupils at 2TG are regularly instructed in their own name and tend to appear in court around two to three times a week. I really enjoyed cutting my teeth on lower value cases in County Courts up and down the country and have no doubt the skills I learned cross-examining witnesses and making submissions will stand me in good stead later on in my career.

There is no point in pretending pupillage is a stress-free year, however, I genuinely believe 2TG’s supportiveness and collegiality helped make the year as stress-free as possible. In particular, at 2TG we don’t accept more pupils than we genuinely want to take on as new tenants. This makes a huge difference – for me, it meant I could see my co-pupil as a friend, rather than as someone who I was in competition with. Moreover, 2TG is very transparent in terms of feedback so pupils always know where they stand and where they need to improve. For example, my supervisors gave me informal feedback at the end of every week and I received formal feedback from the head of pupillage every six weeks. Again, this helped ease the burden of what is an otherwise difficult year.

How did you find the transition from pupil to tenant

I found the transition from pupil to tenant very smooth. In particular, because I had undergone a practising second six, I did not feel as though I was flung in the deep-end. Further, chambers generally has an ‘open door’ policy such that I didn’t feel nervous asking more senior members of chambers for advice or tips when I needed help. I also found other members of chambers and the clerks to be very helpful in ensuring I had all the practical things, like tax and insurance, sorted.

Please describe what your practice is like now

I still have quite a broad practice, which is exactly what I was looking for when I joined 2TG. I am regularly instructed in cases involving professional negligence, property damage, product liability, construction, private international law and personal injury. I also have a good mix of both led and unled work.

Because of the wide variety of work I do, I’m not sure I have a ‘typical working week’. I aim to be in court about two times a week, with other days kept clear for paperwork and preparation. That said, some weeks I won’t be in court at all (usually if something settles last minute) and some weeks I can be in court more often! When my diary is a bit quieter, I also try to make use of 2TG’s strong tradition of giving seminars (and now webinars, with our own YouTube channel) on interesting areas of law. This lets me build my profile in areas I am particularly keen to develop and is a good way of marketing myself to solicitors.

I am very happy with my practice and hope to keep it as broad as possible for the next few years. In my view, getting as many different experiences as you can early on, including advocacy experiences, is what shapes you into a well-rounded – and ultimately successful – barrister and I am very lucky 2TG lets me do that.

Please describe the culture of your chambers?

As I mentioned above, there is a great sense of collegiality at 2TG. Even though I did pupillage during the pandemic, I didn’t feel like I missed out too much (with things like virtual chambers drinks and events such as chocolate tasting organised by our Wellbeing Committee). Now things are back to normal, we have a weekly Chambers’ Tea on a Wednesday afternoon and drinks on a Friday evening. Social-life aside, I also feel very comfortable popping into other members’ rooms or picking up the phone to pick their brain.

In terms of facilities, we’re very lucky at 2TG. We’re based in a beautiful Victorian building on Middle Temple Lane with rooms overlooking the Thames and Inner and Middle Temple gardens. We also have five modern conference rooms and a lovely library which looks out onto the river.

Our clerking team is very supportive. We have regular practice reviews with Lee, our Head Clerk, to make sure our practices are developing in the way we want them to. They are also incredibly friendly – the clerks’ room is always a good place for a chat!

Please detail your top tips for those wanting to become a barrister/securing a pupillage at your chambers

First, try to keep an open mind when considering practice areas because you never really know what an area is like until you practice it. Before coming to the bar, I had a keen academic interest in public law however from mini-pupillages and speaking to other people I quickly discovered the day-to-day reality of practising in that area was not for me.

Second, try and improve your advocacy skills (both written and oral) as much as possible. Mooting is not the only way to do this – even discussing the news or contentious topics with friends and family can help you improve at articulating an argument or spotting a flaw in someone else’s.

Third, think about why you would be good at the less obvious bits of the job. Most people applying for pupillage are intelligent and good at public-speaking. So think about how you are going to stand out. Will you be good at building relationships with solicitors, the clerks and other members of chambers? Can you take responsibility for your own development and manging your own practice? Are you good at managing your own time and reacting quickly to changing circumstances? These are the skills that will really help you to succeed.

Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Work/life balance
Social life
Legal Tech

Insider Scorecard grades range from A* to C and are derived from the Legal Cheek Junior Barrister Survey 2023-24 completed by barristers at the set.

Key Info

Juniors 47
KCs 16
Pupillages 3
Oxbridge-educated new tenants* 3/5

*Figure is for the five most junior members of chambers; does not include postgraduate studies.


Pupillage award £82,500
Bar course drawdown £20,000


Female juniors 38%
Female KCs 38%
BME juniors undisclosed
BME KCs 13%