We appreciate that it is not easy to gain much insight into what pupillage is like at a particular chambers before you actually experience it. The Bar is now highly specialised and so the type of work done by different chancery sets can vary widely. We are therefore keen to give you as much information as possible in order that you can make an informed choice about whether to apply. Below we answer some of the common questions that are asked of us. However, if there is something that we have not answered, please click here to send us a query.
5 Stone Buildings is one of the leading chancery sets of chambers – see what others think of us here. Our work is described either as ‘traditional chancery’ or ‘private client’ meaning that it more often than not focuses on the legal problems and financial issues facing individuals than those facing companies or businesses. There is therefore great human interest in the work that we do.
Typical cases include questions of personal taxation, the law of wills and estates, trusts, and real property, as well as the negligence of professionals acting or advising in these areas. Some of our work is more commercial in nature, including contractual disputes, insolvency, and the enforcement of judgment debts; this is particularly so for junior members. 5 Stone Buildings is a leading set of chambers for work related to the Court of Protection, which has jurisdiction over the property and welfare of the mentally incapacitated.
This is not to say, however, that members’ practices are limited to these areas or in any way uniform. We also, for example, do more specialist work such as pensions, costs, and the law of partnerships. Equally, while the practices of some members have a greater emphasis on non-contentious work, such as advice and drafting, others focus more on litigation.
Pupils sit with at least three supervisors. We aim to place pupils with supervisors whose practices have a different focus, to ensure that pupils gain experience in the whole range of work that we do.
We believe that there are three main aims to pupillage:
We therefore ensure that pupils undertake a mix of work in these areas from day to day. Pupils will also attend court with other members of chambers to ensure that a range of court work at all levels is seen and pupils will occasionally be asked to do written work for other members of chambers.
We typically take a decision about tenancy between six to nine months into pupillage.
Chambers will only take on pupils whom we consider to have a good chance of being offered tenancy – in the unlikely event we do not find anyone who meets this test we will not award any pupillages. The effect of this is that since 2007 all six of our pupils have gone on to become tenants in chambers.
As mentioned above, the vast majority of our recent pupils have been taken on. Going back further in time than this, we have a strong record of placing pupils who are not taken on here at other sets of chambers. Pupil supervisors make every effort to ensure that unsuccessful pupils are placed elsewhere.