Outer Temple Chambers is headquartered in London but takes on a large amount of work in foreign jurisdictions. It has offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and New York, and access to facilities in Toronto, Moscow, Auckland, Paris and Sydney. The set has 66 juniors and 26 QCs, and takes on two pupils each year. Outer takes an additional pupil every alternate year through a scheme set up with the Free Representation Unit (FRU), a pro bono charity. The 18-month “FRUpillage” scheme begins with a six-month placement at the FRU on employment cases, moves to an official first six at Outer Temple, and concludes with a second six working on a mix of casework for chambers and the FRU.
Medical and business expertise are the two mainstays of this chambers. It has a highly experienced catastrophic injury team and takes on complex medical issues such as spinal and brain injuries. Outer has recently developed a strong reputation for pensions work, and is known for its work in financial services and banking. Its employment barristers tend to do very well, including in disciplinary and regulatory hearings and corporate manslaughter and health and safety work. Other strengths include public law work and public inquiries.
According to one rookie, “we often have multi-day trials and several juniors are instructed on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse”. The set’s barristers also do alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration. Recent successes include securing a £16.5 million settlement in a clinical negligence claim for a 14-year-old boy who sustained brain injuries due to complications after he had his tonsils removed. An Outer Temple silk successfully prosecuted a husband who tried to murder his wife by sabotaging her parachute, a case that received widespread media coverage. However, business crime such as insider dealing, cartels and corruption is a more natural habitat for chambers members. They may work on multi-jurisdictional frauds, trace assets in high-value bribery cases or become involved where a US enforcement body is investigating sanctions-busting.
“The junior end of chambers is particularly close and supportive” at Outer Temple, apparently, and one junior we heard from makes a curious reference to “indoor snowball fights”. Whatever shape these wintry battles take (perhaps they have an indoor snow machine), Outer Temple barristers must be doing something right as the chambers scores pretty well in the Legal Cheek Junior Barrister Survey.
“Our pupil supervisors are excellent and it is through 1:1 support during pupillage that I feel I learnt the most,” says one former pupil. “Additionally, pupils take part in written and oral advocacy exercises.” Pupils sit with four different supervisors, changing every three months. They are likely to progress through personal injury and clinical negligence, employment, criminal and disciplinary, and on to pensions. They will take work from other members of chambers, broadening their experience, but will always remain under the close eye of their supervisors. Written work is reviewed, and there is an additional written assessment. Five pupil advocacy exercises must be completed and, alarmingly, an open invitation is extended to members of chambers to watch pupils tackle the fifth of these.
Afternoon tea is served daily, giving rookies a good opportunity to impress members with their small-talk and enthusiasm. Outer Temple is a smart building on London’s Strand. The facilities are “generally good”, although “problems with air con and lift at the moment reduce the score”. Pupils will be offered tenancy if they have met the standard for competence.