About The Set
This top civil and commercial set is one of the highest payers of pupils at the bar. It's is also one of the more diverse chambers, with women making up approaching half of its juniors and a quarter of its QCs.
With a broad range of high quality work – that spans banking & finance to sports law – 2 Temple Gardens is also an interesting place to train, with rookies given the opportunity to sample a variety of different areas before they specialise. Among a host of high profile silks at the set is Martin Porter QC, one of the country's preeminent names for cycling law, banking law heavyweight Paul Downes QC, and dual-qualified Californian and English contract lawyer Jacqueline Perry QC.
What The Junior Barristers Say
The best thing about being a pupil at 2TG, is the “combination of civil and commercial work that you can’t do anywhere else”, says Emily Albou, a junior barrister at the set. You “really get an experience” of both. Albou, who studied law at Nottingham University, applied here for two key reasons: “the quality of work” and “the variety of areas” in which you can build experience as a pupil.
Pupils “get the chance to try so many things out, at top level”. The pupillage structure allows for a balance of seats across a range of commercial, personal injury, professional negligence, property and employment matters. For example, a current pupil is working on a big product liability case that’s worth £90 million. Albou describes the advocacy exercises as a particular highlight of her pupillage at the ambitious set.
There’s a “real focus on pupils” at the chambers. Albou is a dedicated mentor for a pupil. They regularly organise coffee meetings and lunches. The mentoring scheme is put in place to encourage “positive relationships” between pupils and barristers at all levels of experience. Albou notes that she’s still partnered with the mentor she’s had from pupillage. Once you’re buddied up, you get to keep your mentor indefinitely. Senior barristers are known to be generous with their time, “even if really busy and working on a trial for a long time”.
When asked about her favourite memory from pupillage at 2TG Albou replies, “You can’t beat your first day at court”. She recalls being in court all day – the claimant needed an interpreter who didn’t show up, so everyone had to stay put. Not so good for the claimant, annoying for the judge, but bonus for a new pupil who wants to get their bearings. The ball really starts rolling from your second six, though. You’ll be in court “regularly” and will start to run your own cases.
If you survive pupillage, tenancy is the next leap. Becoming a barrister is demanding at any chambers, and can be “stressful”. It’s tempting to think that your transition from pupil to junior is going to be easy, “because you’ve been in court a lot and already doing work with plenty responsibility’. Albou explains that it’s the “realisation that you’re completely on your own, and the work is suddenly on you” that’s challenging. However, the supportive ethos and open door policy at 2TG took away a lot of that stress: “I couldn’t have done it without the support,” she says.
Work/life balance gets a thumbs-up, though it’s “what you make of it”. Time management is key, and once you’re on top of work you can make more time to enjoy life outside of chambers as well. Albou says working from home is an option. However, you’re more likely to find her working in chambers, as she prefers the “mental separation” that it allows. Plus, the facilities at the set are any barrister’s dream. The building is beautiful in itself, and there are some “stunning views” onto Temple Gardens and across the Embankment”. Indeed, Albou enjoys “a desk with a great view of the city”.
Work culture is a highlight and colleagues are “really approachable”. 2TG is distinctively an “open and friendly chambers”. People “often chat to others, both professionally and socially”. There are chambers drinks and Christmas parties to put into your pupil diaries. You’ll be “invited to lots of events, so there’s lots of opportunity to get to know people”.
A key snippet of advice for those hoping to secure pupillage at 2TG is to “Keep trying!” Albou advises future barristers to stick to their guns: “If you don’t get it the first time round, spend your time building your CV” and apply again. Once you get there, remember to “always think about the value that you’re adding to clients” when giving advice.