Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Blackstone Chambers

The lowdown - Pupils (in their own words) on Blackstone Chambers

We sent The Legal 500 Future Lawyers Pupil and Junior 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 range and quality of work; the friendliness of people I met in chambers before starting pupillage (e.g. during my mini-pupillage)’, ‘areas of law/expertise and friendliness’, ‘breadth and quality of work’, ‘variety and high quality of work, in the most attractive areas’

How does your training compare with what you hear from pupils/juniors at other chambers?

‘More stressful and challenging but also thereby more effective at preparing you for practice’, ‘favourably. Pupillage at Blackstone is structured, and involves a significant amount of assessment from different barristers (pupil supervisors, advocacy trainers, and set work assessors)’, ‘more structured, transparent and fair’

Best thing about chambers?

‘The fact it allows you genuinely to follow your own interests; there are no expectations about the type of work that you should be doing’, ‘freedom and quality of work, colleagues, and feeling part of the wider chambers family’
‘despite the 1:1 silk to junior ratio, Blackstone is enormously collegiate and familial’, ‘the people are so lovely, helpful and caring, and the work is of the highest quality’

Worst thing about chambers?

‘The fact that there is still some way to go to make it as diverse and accessible as it should be’, ‘too many marketing events and pressure to attend when not possible to do so alongside a busy practice’, ‘it can be a competitive environment – nobody is competitive with each other, but Blackstone tends to attract people who are competitive with themselves’, ‘being too busy by taking on too many cases’

Best moment to date?

‘Drafting a 50-page skeleton in a Supreme Court case, without it receiving significant amendments from my supervisor or his leaders in the case’, ‘pupillage overall was very effective’, ‘in pupillage, I came up with a point that ended up being determinative of one (small) aspect of the case. My supervisor was grateful and I was glad to have been able to contribute’, ‘doing a pro bono employment case’

Worst moment to date?

‘Whenever the training felt like it was taking over the rest of my life for an extended period of time’, ‘I was a pupil during the Covid era, and I had some issues with the Court’s video conferencing software that meant I couldn’t get onto a hearing where I had been charged with taking a note. Mercifully, the technology seems to have improved’, ‘working too late’

CSR/Pro bono?

‘Very good – no pressure from clerks to do only fee-paying work, similarly no pressure to take on pro bono work if financially difficult to do so’, ‘excellent – Blackstone’s reputation in human rights law, sports law, and employment law offer numerous opportunities for pro bono work’

About Chambers

Head of chambers: Tom Weisselberg KC and Jane Mulcahy KC.

Who we are: Chambers occupies newly renovated premises which provide us with an enhanced and more modern working environment to meet the needs of barristers and their clients in the 21st century. We offer a friendly and supportive environment in which to complete a pupillage.

What we do: We specialise in a varied field of law, with a focus on the following areas:

Commercial: financial/business law, international trade, banking, regulatory, insurance, conflicts, media and entertainment, sport, intellectual property and professional negligence, EU and competition.

Employment: all aspects (including discrimination) are covered by the extensive employment law practices of members of chambers.

Public law: incorporates judicial review, acting both for and against central and local government agencies and other regulatory authorities, human rights, other aspects of administrative law and commercial judicial review.

What we’re looking for: Successful candidates will have demonstrated high intellectual ability and will usually have at least a 2(1) honours degrees, although not necessarily in law.

What you’ll do: Upon commencing pupillage, pupils attend an induction week. Thereafter pupils will spend 12 months split between four supervisors, and will see the varied practices of members of chambers including commercial, employment, European and public law/human rights through their pupillages.

A new tenant can expect a busy and wide-ranging practice with opportunities to specialise later.

Salary: We currently offer a pupillage award of £75,000 for pupillage commencing in 2024. Pupils may apply to draw down up to £22,500 during their BPC year. These figures are not affected if, like many of our pupils, you are successful in obtaining further financial assistance from your Inn. Our award may be reviewed during the currency of the application process.

We offer financial assistance of up to £250 in respect of travel and/or out-of-pocket accommodation expenses incurred by candidates undertaking a mini pupillage with us. In exceptional circumstances additional funding may be available. Please contact Carla Rodriguez, Pupillage Manager for information.

Life as a pupil barrister Femi Adekoya, pupil, Blackstone Chambers

Femi Adekoya, Blackstone Chambers

University: University of Cambridge University of Pennsylvania

Degree: Law; Masters

I studied law at university unsure whether I wanted to become a barrister or a solicitor. After learning about the two professions, I decided that a life at the Bar was one for me. Being a barrister is a very unique and special job. You are in control of your career. You are self-employed so your pay is proportional to your effort and dedication. A life at the Bar involves the ideal combination of intellectual rigour and commercial practicality. Barristers both advise on how the law applies to their client’s commercial context, and persuade judges to accept their arguments on untested propositions of law.

After completing my undergraduate degree in law at the University of Cambridge, I studied for a master’s at the University of Pennsylvania. I also worked as a judicial assistant in the Court of Appeal and as a research assistant in one of the leading regulatory and environmental sets in London.

A pupil at Blackstone sits with four supervisors. Blackstone is unique for its variety of high-quality work, and the pupillage process reflects this. My supervisors’ areas of expertise covered all of Blackstone’s main areas of practice. After a seat with a supervisor that specialises in employment law, when one has just about got to grips with the contours of that practice area, you will start your next seat and have to do the same with commercial law. Ultimately, the range of work you do throughout your pupillage makes the job more interesting and prepares you to be a better lawyer.

Across pupillage, you will assist your supervisor in drafting the key documents of a barrister’s career, for example, opinions, pleadings and skeleton arguments. Your supervisors give you detailed feedback throughout the year so your aptitude for crafting these all-important documents increases markedly. The second six at Blackstone is non-practising, but Blackstone recognises the importance of oral advocacy. There are several advocacy sessions throughout pupillage in which you practise cross-examination and delivering submissions, and remain in awe of the advocacy trainers, hoping that one day you can deliver submissions on the minutiae of contract law so effortlessly.

Pupillage is a daunting year. It is hard work, and it can feel like a year-long job interview. In many ways, pupillage is a great leveller, because despite the varied career paths which can lead one to the bar, no pupil is familiar with working as a barrister. The prize comes in the form of developing the skills needed for a successful career at the Bar. Additionally, and no less important, are the lifelong relationships you develop with your fellow pupils through your shared experiences.

Blackstone’s culture has a material impact on the pupillage experience. Members of chambers are supportive and remarkably approachable; their doors are always open for a chat. Weekly teas and drinks are an institution to which pupils are invited, so pupils are expected to be wholly part of making Blackstone the friendly and collegiate chambers it is.

Diversity and inclusion

For information please see our website:

Since 2019 we have incorporated use of the the Rare Contextual Recruitment System as part of our pupillage recruitment process.