The Legal Cheek View
Blackstone Chambers is a big beast at the commercial and public bar — and it’s getting even bigger; the set’s £6 million renovation of its Temple base is due for completion in December 2021. Blackstone has 59 juniors and an impressive 60 QCs. Demographically, over one-third of its juniors and 22% of its silks are female, and it has a female co-head of chambers, Monica Carss-Frisk QC.
Established over 60 years ago, this set is home to top quality barristers such as Lord Pannick QC, who became something of a household name during the Supreme Court Article 50 case (whether parliamentary approval was required before the government could set Brexit in motion). He added to his reputation as the go-to silk for history-making constitutional law cases when he acted alongside chambers colleague Tom Hickman QC in businesswoman Gina Miller’s challenge to Boris Johnson’s proroguing of parliament. Other mega stars in the Blackstone constellation are government go-to lawyer Sir James Eadie QC, who acted in the aforementioned 2016 Brexit case, high-flyer Dinah Rose QC, and ‘the godfather of sports law’, Michael Beloff QC.
Blackstone attained impressive scores in the Legal Cheek Junior Barrister Survey 2021-22, with an A* for quality of work. Barristers here frequently act in some of the most high profile cases around. Recent examples include the Supreme Court case on whether abortion laws in Northern Ireland breach human rights; the immigration case involving UK teenager Shamima Begum; acting for the Duchess of Sussex’s in her copyright claim against the publishers of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online; and representing the Rugby Football Union in relation to charges brought against Barbarian players for allegedly breaching Covid-rules. If those aren’t blockbuster or enough for you, two members acted in copyright and contractual battle over the Star Wars franchise after a filming row broke out at a fan convention shortly before the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Outside of court, Blackstone members play a prominent role in NGO and charity campaigns. Shaheed Fatima QC presented the findings of a panel report she led into protecting children in conflict zones for an international inquiry chaired by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
What The Junior Barristers Say
Your journey to pupillage
I studied Classics first at university, and then I studied law via a two-year law degree, an option I’d really recommend if you really want to get into some of the deeper policy debates in particular areas – that was how I got to study Labour law, which I loved, and is now a significant part of my practice which I hope to develop further.
Instead of going straight into law after my degree, I decided to train as a social worker, through the Frontline graduate programme. Working with children, young people and their families in circumstances where the state – and the law – plays a big role in their lives is something I feel very privileged to have experienced and means issues of public law in this area are something I feel really passionate about.
I did a whole range of mini-pupillages (over quite a long period – as you’ll see from the above, it’s been a winding route to the bar!) I started off with mini-pupillages at criminal and family law sets, tried one in chancery, and then focused on public law and employment sets as I realised where my interests lay.