The Legal Cheek View
4 Stone Buildings is a leading commercial chancery set made up of 40 members, including nine KCs. The nature of the work taken on by the set has changed over the years — originally a predominantly chancery set, it now mainly takes on work with a commercial element. Work, however, is predominantly commercial chancery as opposed to pure commercial. Financial services, banking, restructuring and insolvency, and shareholder disputes are all key sources of work for tenants at this impressive set.
The wide range of interesting work on offer at 4 Stone Buildings is one of the key attractions for aspiring barristers. Tenants tell us that there is “never a dull moment” with work taken on by the set including Lehman Brothers entering into insolvency, the collapse of the Maxwell empire, and litigation concerning LIBOR manipulation. We are told that “each day brings new and stimulating challenges”. There are also opportunities to undertake international work, with Chambers having particular experience in the Caribbean and the Far East. They will also be hosting the Legal 500 Disputes Summit in Dubai in Autumn. The versatility of the work, and the frequent difficulty of defining it into neat categories, means that 4 Stone Buildings belongs to both the Commercial Bar Association and the Chancery Bar Association.
Recent exciting cases worked on by tenants at the set include Andrew de Mestre KC and James Knott appearing in an appeal to the Supreme Court in relation to a claim against HSBC stemming from a multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, Jonathan Crow KC representing the executor of the Duke of Edinburgh’s will, Sharif Shivji KC defending Credit Suisse in a $2 billion claim brought by Mozambique regarding the ‘tuna bonds scandal’, and Andrew de Mestre KC, Lara Hassell-Hart, and Nicholas Cox appearing in the High Court’s first ever application for special administration of an energy supply company, namely Bulb Energy.
What The Junior Barristers Say
Your journey to pupillage
Going into university, I was unsure as to what future career I wanted to pursue. I had looked into the law as an option but was aware that I could qualify as a lawyer by doing a conversion course whatever undergraduate subject I studied. I decided to keep my options open and applied to study history, a topic I enjoyed and did well in.
I obtained a place to study history at Keble College, Oxford. In my second year, I began researching potential career options. After doing a few mini-pupillages and work experience in a solicitor’s firm, I found myself interested in a career at the Bar.
I studied the GDL and BPTC at City, University of London, funding my degrees with an Exhibition and Princess Royal Scholarship from the Inner Temple respectively. During these years, I tried to get as much experience in advocacy and the law as possible, to support my pupillage applications. I competed in mooting competitions and did mini-pupillages in various different areas of law. I also worked as a summer volunteer case worker for Advocate (then the Bar Pro Bono Unit).
I obtained pupillage in my second round of applications during my BPTC year. This left me with a year to fill before the start of my pupillage. I spent the summer after my BPTC working as an intern at UNCITRAL in Vienna. The experience was highly rewarding. I met lawyers from various jurisdictions and got a good insight into international commercial law. I funded my internship by drawing down on my pupillage award. There are also internship awards and scholarships offered by the Inns of Court, that I recommend for people interested in applying for similar internships. On returning to London, I spent the rest of the year as a paralegal at a litigation firm. I found this to be a great learning experience and got exposure to the more practical aspects of litigation that you can’t really learn on the BPTC.