About The Set
Radcliffe Chambers made the legal world sit up and take notice last year after it hoovered up of seven members from dissolving 11 Stone Buildings, including commercial silk Jeremy Cousins QC. The set now has over 50 barristers and has quietly become one of London's pre-eminent Chancery players.
Not that Radcliffe lacks history. Formed in 2006 from the merger of the Chambers of Malcolm Waters QC at 11 Old Square and the Chambers of Hedley Marten at 11 New Square, the set in its current guise has a rich pedigree, with a host of Lord Justices of Appeal among its former members.
What The Junior Barristers Say
As well as being a highly respected chancery and commercial set that’s home to some of the big brains of the bar, Radcliffe is one of the most sociable chambers in the Inns of Court.
There are opportunities to meet fellow members of chambers through daily tea and coffee. “About ten barristers go on a daily basis for coffee,” reports junior tenant Andrew Brown. “It’s very informal, and you sometimes just talk about sports, but other times you discuss legal issues from the cases you are working on. When I was a pupil I used it as an opportunity to have many fruitful conversations with silks, which was cool.” Afternoon tea draws a younger crowd. “We talk about funny things at the bar, what we read on Legal Cheek, that sort of thing," continues Brown.
In addition to these regular get togethers, there are lots of informal get togethers after work ranging from drinks around the pubs of legal London to other events. “We took our pupil to the Proms the other night,” reports Brown.
One of the reasons that Radcliffe works hard on bringing its barristers together is that it is split across three sites (all in Lincoln’s Inn, so it’s not exactly a long walk between them). This is a legacy of the 2006 merger between 11 New Square and 11 Old Square that formed the set, and the more recent taking on of members from 11 Stone Buildings.
Nevertheless, despite its larger size these days, Radcliffe has stuck to its policy of recruiting just one pupil each year. Nicknamed ‘The Super Pupil’ within chambers, the chosen one benefits from zero competition and a policy of “making that person the best qualified barrister possible”. Since the merger 11 years ago, Radcliffe hasn’t outright rejected a pupil for tenancy. So, if you do make it into the set, then you have a very good chance of staying there. However, because of the growth in work and chambers, Radcliffe is now open to taking on two pupils if two equally suitable candidates appear during the recruitment process.
Pupils get a broad grounding in chancery and commercial law thanks to a system that sees them rotate between four supervisors with whom they spent three months each. With Radcliffe doing a fair bit of international work, there are also some opportunities for travel. The set’s current pupil has been to Switzerland and Luxembourg this year, for example. In keeping with a policy that sees Radcliffe cover all pupils’ costs, hotels are typically paid for during such trips.
If there is a quality that marks out Radcliffe rookies from their peers, beyond their sociable nature, it’s their commercial approach. “Ultimately this is a business and at interview one of the qualities we look for is that future pupils could be put in front of clients,” notes Brown.