Frequently Asked Questions

What happens about professional indemnity insurance?

Pupils are automatically covered under their pupillage supervisor’s policy. This cover ceases if and when the pupil becomes a Member of Bar Mutual in his or her own right.

What about social media? 

Every chambers or training organisation will have their own social media policy and should be provided in your written pupillage agreement before you commence pupillage.

What is tenancy?

Pupils who complete their pupillage may or may not be offered tenancy by the chambers or training provider. A tenancy is a place in chambers as a full member, normally called a tenant. Pupillage offers may be made with or without a view to you becoming a tenant in chambers following successful completion. At Clerksroom, all pupillages are offered with a provisional offer to join as a full member of Clerksroom. 

What is a chambers constitution?

Most Barristers Chambers in England & Wales are groups of individual sole practitioner Barristers who group together to share expenses. The name given to a group of Barristers who share rooms, expenses and staff is a "Chambers". The legal relationship between the members or tenants in the chambers is governed normally by a chambers constitution. The constitution will deal with all aspects of the legal responsibilities of membership including the joint and several liabilities for each member. You must ask for a copy of the chambers constitution and understand it before you agree to membership. At Clerksroom, we offer membership on the basis of a formal service level agreement (SLA) and there is no joint and several liabilities. Our members may leave by giving 3 months written notice of termination of the SLA. 

Does chambers provide me with work?

Most chambers will have a loyal client base of solicitors who send work into chambers and there will be opportunities to undertake suitable junior work that is appropriate for your skills and experience. New Barristers will need to network, market themselves and generally take responsibility for starting to build your practice. The clerks in chambers will be of great help to you in the early stages of your career and we also highly recommend Jurilogical. The volume of work available will depend on the chambers but once you complete your pupillage and become a "self-employed, sole practitioner" at the bar of England.& Wales, you are the key person who will be attracting work and the aim is to build your practice from loyal clients and reputation. Always consider the work that comes from chambers as work to get you started and extra work you can tap into when needed. Talk to your clerks and take responsibility for yourself is the best advice we can give. 

How much will I earn when I finish my pupillage and join a chambers?

This is the most commonly asked question and it is the most difficult question to answer because it is very much down to the individual and the volume of repeat work from clients who wish to instruct you again. We try to be practical about the answer to this question and explain that normal work for a pupil tends to pay in the region of £250-£350 + VAT per day and there are 5 days in a week so the maths is quite simple. As you grow in confidence and work for more solicitor clients you will grow your practice which will increase in value of work and complexity. We also try to persuade newly qualified Barristers to have a sensible work life balance as working 24/7 is not good for anyone. If you work hard, provide a good service to your clients and get repeat business, then grow your confidence with your work and marketing yourself, you can do very well and new Barristers can earn £60,000 in their 1st 12 months. It is important to remember, Barristers are self-employed, sole practitioners and you need to consider cash flow. 

Why is cash flow so important for new Barristers?

Most new Barristers don't think about cash flow but they must. Have a think about the normal process for being instructed on a new matter. (1) You impress or do some marketing (2) The work comes in or is booked in your diary on a future date (3) You prepare for the matter, you pay to travel to court or the meeting (4) You complete the work and deal with all post outcome work (5) You ask your clerks or chambers to invoice for you and it is sent to the solicitor (6) Solicitors can take time to settle invoices, they do not pay fees quickly, it is just a fact of life at the bar, even if it sounds unreasonable. (7) The date the fee will be paid is unknown so it is almost impossible to budget. (8) Once paid, you will have chambers fees and or clerks fees to pay. Chambers fees vary but are normally between 12 to 20% depending on the chambers fee structure. Cash flow is key to survival at the self-employed bar. Clerksroom charge 15% for the provision of all normal clerking (practice management) services.

Will I need to register for VAT?

When you first qualify and become a self-employed Barrister, there will be a period of time where you do not need to register for VAT but we always advise new members of the bar to register as early as possible as you should, hopefully, be earning more than the VAT threshold ver soon. You will need to take advice from your accountant as to when is most appropriate for you. 

Would you like to see more advice or guidance here? 

Email Stephen Ward (Managing Director) using [email protected] and we will put your question up and provide an honest answer to any question asked. 



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Barristers: 01823 247 247 Mediators: 01823 704 099