“at the cutting edge of developments in commercial law”
“one of the friendliest commercial chambers”
(Chambers and Partners)
A great strength of 7 King’s Bench Walk is that every member of Chambers practises in the field of commercial law. This provides a unique concentration of expertise, as well as a coherent and supportive working environment.
Chambers’ work remains highly varied. 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, professional negligence, fraud, commodities and shipping. Cases are mostly London-based, typically in the Commercial Court or appellate courts, or in arbitration. But most of Chambers’ work has a strong international element, involving jurisdiction disputes; clients, facts and contracts from around the world; or, often, the consideration of foreign law alongside English law principles. Members also appear regularly in other jurisdictions such as Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bermuda.
For most of us, the primary appeal of commercial work is that it is intellectually demanding and stimulating, and covers a wide and varied range of subject matters. Our work involves absorbing and understanding large quantities of factual and technical information; analysing and researching the complex legal and commercial issues which arise; and developing, advising on, and applying arguments and strategies in the interests of our clients. Being a good commercial lawyer requires strong intellectual and analytical abilities, as well as common sense and sound judgement.
One of the questions most commonly asked by applicants is what work new junior members of Chambers can expect to undertake. There is no single ‘mould’ for the practice of new tenants at 7KBW, but the one constant is that the work is diverse. Typically, junior tenants divide their time between advising and representing clients on their own in smaller cases and working as junior to more senior members of Chambers in large and complex disputes. The nature of commercial work is such that opportunities for oral advocacy are less frequent during the early years of practice than in many other branches of the law. However, advocacy remains an important element of our work and we encourage our junior members to appear in county courts, in arbitrations and in suitable High Court hearings whenever they can. The opportunities to appear as an advocate in commercial cases increase rapidly after a few years in practice.
One of the most important, but also most difficult, factors for a candidate to assess when applying for pupillage is whether he or she would be happy working in a particular set of Chambers. 7KBW distinguishes itself by its supportive and inclusive atmosphere. The working environment in Chambers is relaxed and collegiate, backed up by an exceptionally friendly and efficient clerking team. Members often work together in teams on large cases, building relationships between members at all levels of experience. Chambers prides itself on the approachability, as well as the professionalism, of its members. Whilst we have a strong contingent of QCs (24 out of 60 current members), we are a relatively young and dynamic set.
Pupillage is Chambers’ key channel for recruitment. Members of Chambers have come to pupillage and 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, and Lord Mance. There is no single model for a member of 7KBW and we welcome applicants of high calibre from any background.
If you are interested in 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 to assist them 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.