Why St Pauls Chambers?

You probably know who we are. But the current group-think suggests that Chambers have to be big if they are to survive. The group-think is wrong.

If you come from a set doing publicly funded work, you have 1 full-time employee to 5 or 6 barristers. Check it out with your own Chambers (we have). For example, we have 39 members and 6.5 staff (including part time working, which we happily accommodate). Those costs have to be paid for by groups of tenants. It follows that big makes very little difference to economics of scale. On the NE Circuit, the equation set out above is accurate pretty well across the board.

The difference is that when you are small and efficient, you can better ensure that costs are controlled – particularly if every member of Chambers is making a significant contribution to those costs. That is why our members keep more of what they earn. But, actually, that isn’t the real issue.

The two things that should matter far, far, more are, first, your chance to realise your professional ambitions and advance in your job. Secondly, your potential to increase your earnings.

On professional advancement our record speaks for itself. 5 home grown silks in 9 years. 3 silks joining from elsewhere in the same time. 6 judges in the same time. The proportion of our members who have taken silk from Chambers is unmatched anywhere else on Circuit. The proportion of our members in silk is unmatched anywhere else on Circuit. The proportion of our members who have been appointed to the Bench is unmatched anywhere else on Circuit. If you are ambitious and you are good, you will shine and thrive at St Paul’s.

As to earnings, not only do we keep our costs low. We believe that our barristers – on both an average and a mean basis – earn more than anyone else on Circuit. And, because we only recruit those we think have got what it takes to really succeed, our figures are not distorted by the presence of one or two people doing far better than anyone else. We have increased our turnover by approximately 60% over the last 9 years, by relentlessly focusing on quality people doing quality work, distributed with equality in mind. What we haven’t done is increase turnover by getting much bigger – that’s not the way we do it and it proves nothing.

And, if you want to talk seriously to us, we’ll prove it to you. If that interests you, contact us on strictly confidential terms and let us show you that what we’ve said is accurate. Then think about what that might mean for you. We want 2 or 3 senior people to pick up the excess work we have. And we never, ever, close the door to real talent, whatever stage you are at. Just two rules: you have to be serious. And we only ever consider individual applications.

9 years is a long time – far too long to say measurable professional and financial success is a fluke. It isn’t a fluke. It’s a product of great planning, unwavering commitment to quality in chambers and equality amongst the members of Chambers.

It helps that we’re a happy, friendly, contented set of Chambers – and it’s part of the reason we’re a happy, friendly, contented set of Chambers. We enjoy each other’s company. We work together. We recommend each other. We unstintingly help each other. We cover pretty well every area of common law practice, together with human rights work and personal reputation work, at the highest level. And you’re never on your own – ask our junior tenants. We are what the Bar was like 35 years ago, when we were set up. We are true to our ideals.

We go away together for a Chambers weekend every year. It helps us feel part of one entity, there for all of us. We have a serious meeting where we plan continued success. We enjoy each other’s company, whilst recognising that different people enjoy themselves doing different things.  All Chambers should really mean that your success is our success. We do really mean it. What happens to you is interesting to us because we are your colleagues. We’re all in it together. It’s another benefit of being small, selective and friendly. If you’re the right person and you’re good enough, you’ll enjoy it.

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