Name of chambers:
Head of Chambers:
Philip Kolvin QC
Address of chambers:
Cornerstone Barristers, 2-3 Gray's Inn Square, London
Chambers website address:
Planning; Housing and social welfare; Public law; Property; Civil; Community care and health; Costs; Licensing; Information technology; Local government; Regulatory
Number of junior tenancies (in the last three years):
Cornerstone Barristers is a leading set of barristers with particular expertise in the above practice areas.
We have a diverse client base and act for corporates, private individuals, the public sector and professionals. We offer direct access to approved professional bodies and the public from our chambers in Gray’s Inn and satellite offices in Birmingham and Cardiff. During the spring of 2016, our London chambers are being extensively refurbished to provide the highest standard of client, barrister and administrative facilities.
We currently have 53 members. Two of our members took silk in the latest application round, bringing our total complement to 13 QCs. Our barristers appear in the full range of courts and tribunals including the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Seven of our junior tenants are on the Attorney General's panels, giving them access to a varied range of public law work.
We participate in a great deal of public interest litigation and our members have acted in matters as diverse as: the Hillsborough Inquests into the death of 96 football supporters in 1989, the largest inquests ever held in the UK; the inquest touching the death of Mark Duggan, the shooting of whom fueled the riots that started in Tottenham in 2011 an spread across London and to other cities; the Birmingham Six miscarriage of justice case; and the Omagh bombing. As a set, we advise many leading public interest groups including Friends of the Earth and UK Feminista. Our members lead or serve on a number of professional bodies, for instance, Head of Chambers, Philip Kolvin QC, is the Patron and former Chair of the Institute of Licensing.
Members have authored many textbooks specialist to our practice areas. These include the prestigious ‘Cornerstone on…’ series an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing. Other titles are in the pipeline and there will be many opportunities for the successful candidate to contribute.
We pride ourselves in being a collegiate, diverse and interesting group of practitioners who are supported by first-class administration, marketing and clerking.
At Cornerstone Barristers, we recognise the vital role pupillage has in keeping our chambers at the forefront of the modern legal profession. We've seen how important it is to have fresh minds with new approaches progressing through the set. Pupillage is a challenging time but we promise to give you the support to ensure it is incredibly rewarding too.
How it works:
Cornerstone normally offers 2 pupillages each year via the Pupillage Gateway. This year we are offering only one because we agreed to defer a successful applicant from the previous round. Each pupillage lasts for 12 months and there is an award of £40,000 for the year (which includes guaranteed minimum earnings of £15,000 in your second six months). We will endeavour to look sympathetically on requests to draw-down an amount from this award during the Bar Professional Training Course year.
Each pupil shares a room with their supervisor and works closely with them. We use the Bar Standards Board's checklists to make sure your training is comprehensive. We also organise advocacy training sessions so pupils can pit their skills against one another or a junior member in front of a 'judge'.
You will sit with at least three pupil supervisors during your year of pupillage and together they will cover the core practice areas within chambers.
During pupillage you will have the opportunity to work alongside leading barristers in their field who will be instructed on important and complex litigation. During your first six months, you will regularly accompany members on trips to Planning Inquiries, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, as well as all the lower courts and tribunals. In return, you are expected to work hard and produce excellent written work which will, in part, inform our tenancy selection process.
Your pupil supervisors will ensure, prior to the start of your second six, that you spend time with the junior members of chambers, and accompany them to court in order to understand the work that they do and that you may be instructed to do in your second six when you are on your feet. In addition to your supervisors, the junior members of chambers will always be ready to talk you through any concerns that you have.
During your time with us your supervisors will prepare reports on your work. Members you have worked with will be asked for feedback, as will any instructing solicitors. The pupillage committee normally meets every two months to review each pupil’s progress and ensure they are on track. At their final meeting the pupillage committee will make a recommendation on a tenancy offer. A decision on that recommendation is determined by a majority of members voting at a full chambers meeting. That decision will be based not simply on the qualities of the individual applicant but also on whether there is a vacancy for a junior tenant at that time.
There's no getting away from the fact that a pupil's life is intense but all Cornerstone barristers, junior and senior, are committed to supporting you. There is a strong sense of cohesion among our members and a significant number of our most junior members have become tenants after successful periods of pupillage with us.
The following questions will form the Pupillage Application Questionnaire section
of the application form for this pupillage vacancy. These are included here to allow
you to prepare in advance.
- BC1 - Why do you wish to become a barrister? (200 words)
- BC4 - Why do you believe you will make a good barrister? In your answer, please identify any relevant experiences or skills that you believe may help you in your career. (200 words)
- BC5 - Please identify any additional experiences / skills gained that you believe may help you in your career. (200 words)
- BC2 - What areas of practice are you interested in and why? (200 words)
- BC3 - Give reasons for your choice of chambers. (200 words)
To apply, please click on the Apply Online link below and then complete the online application form.