Event: Alternatives for wannabe barristers — the City, in-house and academia

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By Alex Aldridge on

Legal Cheek session at Inner Temple featuring a panel of top solicitors and barristers — open to all law students, with free tickets available below


Make no mistake, the elite end of the bar continues to power on, with the leading commercial and public law sets thriving — just look at the astronomical pupillage awards — in a tough business environment that values the low overhead model of the bar.

But outside of that bracket the barristers’ profession is changing. The Coalition’s legal aid cuts, which are expected to be continued — and even accelerated — under the majority Tory government, have contributed to pupillage numbers falling below 400 for the first time in recent memory as criminal and family law chambers take on less graduates.

Accordingly, increasing numbers of law students who would previously have ended up at the bar are at looking at other options.

Evidence of this trend was found in the news this month that applications through the Pupillage Gateway system fell by 9% this year — with just 2,114 hopefuls using the centralised system, down from 2,319 last year.

The solicitors’ profession has taken a post-financial crisis hit too, with training contract numbers having fallen from a 2008 high of 6,303 trainee places to a low of 4,869 in 2011 before recovering slightly to reach 5,001 last year. But even with that fall TCs remain far more numerous than pupillages. And some City firms are now upping their trainee numbers — and increasing trainee pay — again.

On Sunday 21 June at Inner Temple’s student Q&A day we have gathered together a group of big name lawyers to talk about some of the options available to students with an interest in litigation.


Tom Leech QC, in-house barrister in the advocacy unit at Herbert Smith Freehills.

Sarwan Singh, former in-house lawyer in law centres and local government, who is now deputy course director of the BPTC at City Law School.

Mark Soundy, M&A partner at Shearman & Sterling.

Angus Duncan, insurance litigation partner at Mayer Brown.

Jeremy Consitt, barrister and solicitor in the employment law team at King & Wood Mallesons.

The event — which is free and includes lunch and an afternoon drinks reception — runs from 10:30am-5pm. Alongside Legal Cheek‘s alternative careers session, there will be a presentation on the becoming-a-barrister process, interview tips and insights into life at the bar. The day is being held at event organiser Inner Temple.

Reserve a place here.

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