“the best of the traditional values of the Bar – intellectually flexible, and legally rigorous”
The most important decision for most of our applicants is whether the type of work we offer interests them and will stimulate them throughout their practices.
All members of Chambers specialise in commercial law. In practice, commercial law covers everything from small-scale contractual disputes to complex multi-jurisdictional disputes in areas such as international trade, energy, insurance, banking, financial services, fraud, commodities and shipping. Members appear regularly in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal, and also in the Supreme Court and Privy Council. They also appear in arbitrations, and in other jurisdictions such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Bermuda. Whatever the nature of a pupil supervisor’s work, a pupil can expect to be fully involved in it and a pupil can expect to gain experience of a number of these areas of litigation. One of the questions most commonly asked by our applicants is what work the more junior members of Chambers can expect to undertake. There is no single ‘mould’ for the practice of new tenants at 7KBW. During the early years of practice, our universal experience is that the work is diverse. Typically, junior tenants divide their time between advising and representing clients on their own in more straightforward cases and assisting more senior members of Chambers in large and complex disputes. The nature of commercial work is such that opportunities for advocacy are less frequent during the early years of practice than in many other branches of the law. However, we encourage our junior members to appear in county courts, in arbitrations and in suitable High Court hearings whenever they can, and the opportunities to appear as an advocate in commercial cases increase rapidly after two or three years in practice. For most of us, the primary appeal of commercial work is that it is intellectually demanding and stimulating. Our work involves reading and absorbing large quantities of documentation, understanding complex factual and technical information, analysing the legal and commercial issues which arise, and researching the law which applies to them. Being a good commercial lawyer requires strong intellectual and analytical abilities, as well as common sense and sound judgement.
We recognise that one of the most difficult factors for a pupil to assess when applying for pupillage is whether he or she is comfortable with the ‘feel’ of a Chambers. Whether you enjoy your working environment is as important, we believe, as whether you enjoy the work you will be doing. We believe that the atmosphere at 7KBW is friendly and easy-going, as well as highly professional. Whilst we have a strong contingent of QCs (24 out of 60 current members are QCs), we are a relatively young and dynamic set with an atmosphere which we believe reflects that composition. We often work in teams together on large cases. It is also important for young barristers to be able to work alongside their contemporaries at solicitors’ firms, especially in large-scale cases which involve considerable team-work. Junior members of Chambers are increasingly involved in work of this nature and we believe this is a reflection on the approachability and professionalism of our members. Members of Chambers have come to the Bar through a variety of routes. Many of our members are non-law graduates, a few are former solicitors and some are practitioners from other jurisdictions. On leaving Chambers, many of our members have become judges, including Lord Denning, Lord Brandon, Lord Goff, Lord Hobhouse, Lord Mance, Lord Justice Longmore, Lord Justice Tomlinson, Mr. Justice Cooke, Mr. Justice Flaux and Mr. Justice Picken. There is, of course, no formula for deciding whether a set will suit a pupil. If you are interested in pursuing a career at 7KBW, we recommend that you spend a few days in Chambers to gauge the atmosphere for yourself. Details of how to apply for a mini-pupillage appear in the Mini-Pupillage section. We also encourage applicants to whom we make an offer of pupillage to spend a day or two in Chambers before deciding whether to accept our offer. These suggestions are made purely to assist applicants in making an informed choice. Doing a mini-pupillage at 7KBW is not a pre-requisite for an application for pupillage, and any mini-pupillage that is done will form no part of the assessment process on an application for pupillage.
“a set that is noted for its number of talented juniors”