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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a list of questions that often arise from candidates but if you have any other questions, please contact Andrew Burrows, clerk to the pupillage committee on pupillage@atkinchambers.com.

How big is Atkin Chambers?

Atkin Chambers has 50 members and a practice management/admin team of around 20.

Unlike some Chambers, Atkin has chosen primarily to grow organically through its pupils. We believe that this approach is essential for maintaining the quality of the service for which we are known.

How does clerking work?

The clerking and practice management team is responsible for securing instructions for members and overseeing the administration which comes with being instructed on a case. This ranges from agreeing fees to fixing hearings. An important part of effective practice management is obtaining feedback from the client and communicating that feedback to the barrister.

Work comes into Chambers as a result of the work undertaken by the practice management team but also as a result of the marketing work undertaken by individual barristers. “Marketing” comes in many different forms: Performing well in Court and impressing opposing solicitors; giving talks on legal topics and attending more formal “marketing” events all have their place.

Our experience is that barristers who learn to be effective marketers will see a benefit to their practices as well as to the reputation of Chambers as a whole. We will provide you with support to help you develop the relevant skills.

Tell me about your clients

Members’ clients are varied and may include large and small companies, professional firms and sometimes individuals. Disputes frequently involve some of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects around the world.

Most of Chambers’ work comes from large domestic and international law firms but we are fortunate enough to receive instructions from law firms of all sizes. We have noticed a recent trend in the growth of instructions we receive directly from companies (usually, but not always, via in house legal departments).

Whether members receive instructions direct from the client or via a law firm, the aim is the same: To work to understand what the client wants and needs from members’ advice and to deliver it.

As one member put it: You need to be “able, affable and available”.

Tell me about the financial side

Generally barristers at commercial sets earn well. Members of Atkin Chambers are no different. We pay the market leading pupillage award to all 12 month pupils.

New tenants benefit from a generous reduction in the contribution expected from each barrister towards Chambers’ expenses.

New tenants can look forward to a busy and varied practice from the start. As one comparatively junior member of Chambers noted:

“Within 30 minutes of the call from my pupil supervisor informing me that my tenancy application had been successful, the clerks were on the phone with my first two sets of instructions and I have been busy ever since.”

Life in Chambers outside of work

Chambers is relatively small, and there are many opportunities to meet the other members and staff, whether at organised social events, our monthly lunch, or at members’ tea or drinks on a Friday evening.

Tell me about the workload?

If you are interested in law academically it has to be the Bar as you won’t get that type of level of analysis work elsewhere in the law on the whole. You have to take personal responsibility for your work and to be precise and clear, and have a thorough understanding of every inch of the case and the law completely. You have to be comfortable working on your own.  This is very different from being a solicitor where you are much more heavily supervised and where there isn’t the same scope for individual thought.

You will have long heavy hours of working on your own but equally you do get time to regroup and recover.

As one member put it: “All the positives I anticipated about life at the Bar I’ve enjoyed and if anything more so. Make no mistake however you will work hard and you will work long hours. That said I have particularly appreciated the flexibility and greater control I have over my life since having a family.”

Further questions

Please email us if you have an questions we haven’t provided the answers to.