The Legal Cheek View
Devereux’s roster of 11 QCs and 39 juniors specialise in, among other areas, commercial litigation, insurance, reinsurance, professional negligence, IT and telecoms, tax, employment, clinical negligence and personal injury. One of its most high profile members, the barrister and blogger Jolyon Maugham QC, fronted the main legal challenge to prevent the invoking of Article 50 without the approval of parliament.
The set may be full of renaissance men and women juggling sexy human rights cases with big-money commercial instructions, but it’s also a notably friendly place. “Most people are very willing to have a chat when I’m trying to work out an answer to a difficult point, or just commiserate after a hard day,” one rookie barrister tells us. Another adds: “There’s always somebody around to answer questions if you’re stuck, and senior members of chambers sometimes wander in to bounce ideas around — there is a very collegial atmosphere.”
The happy vibe pervades pupillage, which is reportedly “excellent” albeit with the caveat that “there’s nothing that can really prepare you for practice except practice itself”. The programme is one of the more organised at the bar, with formalised assessments and advocacy exercises conducted before real judges. There’s also an informal element to the training which sees barristers of varying levels of seniority pass on their pearls of wisdom to pupils.
A junior tenant who recently went through the process describes it like this: “Well structured, carefully designed and with plenty of thoughtful feedback. Deliberate opportunities to work with lots of members of chambers, which is great for learning about different styles as well as useful for the tenancy file.”
It’s worth noting that Devereux doesn’t pit its pupils against each other – if they are good enough, all are offered places as tenants.
Work starts off relatively basic, with a sprinkling of more complex stuff that becomes steadily more regular. One junior sums it up: “It’s difficult to generalise – at the junior end of chambers, we do our fair share of small claims ‘knockabout’ work – but also some very involved multi track litigation.”
Another praises the “good range” and “high quality” of the instructions sent their way by clerks who know how to drive a hard bargain on behalf of their barristers.
Devereux operates out of a distinctive-looking white building at the entry to the Temple, enviably positioned alongside a pub and a wine bar and not more than 60 seconds from the Royal Courts of Justice. An insider describes it as: “Pretty good at the front-end, perhaps a little bit less palatial in our rooms – but that is the nature of being in Temple.”
The boozers nearby mean there is scope for after work drinks. Bonds at work are strengthened further by regular sponsored charitable activities such as walks, fun runs, cycling contests and quiz nights.