Meet Selborne Chambers at our Virtual Pupillage Fair on December 12th! Sign up here!
A heavyweight in the commercial chancery field, Selborne Chambers is not one to be overlooked by those seeking a challenging, but rewarding, career. Focussing on commercial, company, insolvency, landlord and tenant, media, professional negligence, real property and trusts, probate, and estate, the set is home to 37 juniors and eight KCs. The chambers offers two pupillages annually, with a sizeable award of £75,000 on the table for the lucky duo of recruits. Beyond merely the financial reward, pupils can expect to be given high quality training, where “colleagues are willing to assist”, and help rookies develop into hardened professionals.
Given the calibre of work that the set gets involved with, this training is much needed. “There is very little ‘run of the mill’ work in any of the practice areas reports one”, with another noting the “challenging” nature of the cases. This is something of an understatement when you consider that tenants are involved at all levels of civil court and tribunals in England and Wales, alongside working on domestic and international arbitrations, and have appeared in cases spanning Bermuda, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Isle of Man, Bangladesh, Israel and the USA.
When off the clock, tenants and pupils alike don’t leave their legal lives at the door, but rather engage in a wide range of pro bono work. Members work in connection with Advocate and CLIPS (Chancery Bar Litigant in Person Support Scheme) in addition to providing other more indirect services to charities.
If all of this work sounds a little on the difficult side, even with the high-quality training, worry not, the Selborne stock are always there to help. We hear that everyone at the set is “extremely friendly and happy to help, both on work and pastoral issues”, with there being “an excellent atmosphere in chambers. Colleagues will do what they can to help.” Of particularly important note at the Commercial and Chancery Bars, is that “the clerks are receptive to down time”, and that “work life balance is very much left to each barrister to determine, but chambers are supportive with whatever balance each member strikes.” Such high praise and flexibility are not to be ignored, being relatively rare in this section of the Bar. As one junior puts it “this needs more work across the Bar generally but, overall, the attitude is good in chambers.”
Both inside their building – described as “modest” by one junior, although emphasised as being “efficient and effective” – and out, the friendly set do like to socialise. “We have a very social chambers” says one, another noting how “there are a good number of formal occasions as well as a monthly chambers lunch.” One insider also notes that “having a chambers ‘local’ is also a great help for informal socialising”, yet another thing for rookies to look forward to!
Other highlights for prospective recruits include the “responsive and patient” IT and tech support, as well as the charitable focus already touched on, the set focussing on combatting homelessness, something related to their core practice areas.
As for pupillage, the set take applications through the Pupillage Gateway, before then conducting a number of interview rounds. This is typically set at two, although is subject to discretionary change by chambers. These interviews may include general questions about the applicant, as well as specific questions on a legal problem.
Once rookies begin their pupillage, they can expect to spend time with three or four pupil supervisors. Throughout the year, pupils will be asked to prepare for and attend conferences and hearings with their pupil supervisors, produce written pleadings and opinions and undertake legal research, often under considerable time pressure. This isn’t all, however, with pupils expected to spend time with other members of chambers, attending matters before all levels of Court and Tribunals.
Unlike many other commercial and commercial chancery sets, pupils at Selborne can also expect to make regular court appearances within their second six, being instructed in their own right. Recruits are guaranteed a minimum of £15k earnings in this time. In addition to this practical experience, chambers offer individual advocacy training in addition to that provided by the Inns of Court.