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London: Common law sets

updated on 09 March 2020

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If you are seeking a wide-ranging pupillage with ample court time and a chance to earn your own fees during the second six, then the common law Bar will suit you well. You can cut your advocacy teeth on simple ‘infant settlements’ (approving a compensation award to a minor); ‘winders’ (securing a winding-up order in an insolvency case); charging orders and fast-track personal injury claims. Personal injury is a staple at common law sets, but beyond this you will be exposed to a multitude of legal problems, including some small commercial disputes and possibly even criminal cases. Confidence, flexibility and a willingness to travel to cases are essential. Your schedule will become unpredictable and you must be ready at all times to charm and impress the instructing solicitors who send you work during the early years of your career. Pupillage awards vary hugely; however, the very top players will match those paid by commercial sets.

To find out more about life as a barrister at a common law set, see this profile of Theo Barclay of Hailsham Chambers