The Legal Cheek View

Hardwicke is an unstuffy and modern set that is increasingly geared around commercial law. With a strong corporate identity and offices in Lincoln’s Inn that more closely resemble those of a City law firm than a chambers, this is a far cry from the fusty Inns of Court stereotype.

The set, which is led by chief executive Amanda Illing and joint heads PJ Kirby QC and Paul Reed QC, is becoming well known for international commercial litigation and arbitration, with many of its barristers working across different jurisdictions. Hardwicke also has specialisms in insurance, property, private client, professional negligence, and construction.

What The Junior Barristers Say

Nestled in between Chancery Lane and Lincoln’s Inn, and accessible through the Dickensian Bishop’s Court’s alley, Hardwicke’s environs are about as barristery as it gets.

So entering the set is something of a surprise. Rather than wood panels and portraits of great judges of yesteryear, the visitor finds themselves in what feels like a little piece of the City of London transported to the Inns of Court.

“Modern and functional,” is how one insider describes it, while another praises the “reassuringly expensive” décor. Internal bike racks and a table tennis table add a hipness rarely found in this part of town, while a full-time chef is on hand to cater for regular events.

Hardwicke’s barristers to a certain extent reflect the surroundings, with a number of former solicitors among a host of career changers. Those who come straight from bar school are notably down-to-earth types. “Basically there’s no ‘template’ for Hardwicke membership – if you have the capability to be a great barrister, there will be a place for you regardless of background,” says pupil barrister Simon Kerry, who spent four years as an accountant at PwC before switching to law.

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The set is increasingly geared to commercial law, with most of its roster of silks specialising in this area. But Hardwicke has traditionally been fairly broad-based in its work, and there are practitioners specialising in clinical negligence, construction & engineering, employment, insolvency, insurance & reinsurance, personal injury, private client, professional liability, property and public law. As such pupils get a broad range of experience.

The training is highly rated, with a supportive culture that “seems less hierarchical than most chambers” helping to ease the transition from baby barrister to tenant. One member of chambers’ penchant for baking cakes for colleagues is also highly valued among Hardwicke’s young.

With most of the set’s barristers putting in 40-50 hours a week, Hardwicke is a hard-working place, but not obsessively so. “The junior end socialise a lot” apparently and “there are a lot of business development events”. The networking sessions often have a diversity theme, with Hardwicke’s corporate responsibility programme one of the most well developed at the bar. Among other involvements, the set is part of the Pathways to Law initiative boosting diversity in the legal profession at entry level, a major backer of FreeBar, the new bar-wide LGBT+ initiative, and a participant in regular charity fundraising events.



Applications close 01/06/2018


Applications close 01/09/2018


Applications open 08/01/2019
Applications close 07/02/2019

Key Info

Juniors 76
QCs 10
Pupillages 2
Oxbridge-educated new tenants* 1/5

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


Pupillage award £55,000
BPTC advance drawdown £10,000

Gender Diversity

Female juniors 33%
Female QCs 20%