Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Blackstone Chambers
The lowdown - Pupils (in their own words) on Blackstone Chambers
We sent The Lex 100 Pupil Barrister survey to pupils and juniors up to two years in tenancy at Blackstone Chambers. Here is what they had to say:
Why did you choose these chambers over any others?
‘The quality and variety of the work at Blackstone is unbeatable. People in chambers are also incredibly down-to-earth, without any airs and graces, and there is a real collegiate atmosphere’, ‘quality of work’, ‘areas of practice; quality of work; and the people I met there during my mini-pupillage’
How does your training compare with what you hear from pupils at other chambers?
I have not heard of another chambers that is more invested in the success of all of its pupils – Blackstone really sees it as a chambers achievement if all pupils get taken on at the end of the year. The pupillage year is very obviously not competitive as between pupils. If you meet the standard, you will get tenancy. It is also a transparent process and you know where you stand, particularly as the tenancy decision gets closer. The second six is non-practising, which means that as a pupil you get an extra six months of training without the additional pressure of running your own caseload: this is, in my view, a huge advantage of the Blackstone process’, ‘much more demanding, chance to work on more difficult tasks, faster progression’, ‘I think our process is fair and rigorous’
What is the best thing about the chambers?
‘The variety and quality of the work, and the people: from top to bottom, clerks, staff, silks and juniors are all approachable, encouraging and good to work with’, ‘quality of work’, ‘the opportunity it provides you to work with nice colleagues on very interesting cases’, ‘the collegiality – it is like one big family’
What is the worst thing about the chambers?
‘The building work! (which will soon be finished)’, ‘depending on the supervisor, the hours can be long compared with pupillage at other sets, but I don’t think this is a serious problem as it is more reflective of life as a tenant’, ‘the expectation that one works very long hours’, ‘I get fewer weekends off than I would like!’
What has been the best moment of your training to date?
‘Building relationships with pupil supervisors during pupillage; and learning from others in chambers since then – all of whom are right at the top of their game’, ‘writing a skeleton for an application that resulted in an Afghan family being granted permission to enter the UK’, ‘drafting submissions in a Supreme Court case, which were well received (by my supervisor and the court)’
What has been the worst moment of your training to date?
‘Being on my feet in the admin court in my first (in-person) hearing just a month or so after taking tenancy, which was a tough and humbling experience!’, ‘I find the two-day assessments stressful and isolating. Although I have learned from the process, we never receive the full extent of the feedback on our work, which limits their educational value’, ‘attempting to complete an assessed ‘set work’ without even the vaguest sense that I was going in the right direction’, ‘the run-up to the tenancy decision. It was horrible’