From October 2002 Maitland will pay pupils 30,000 for the year and guarantee those that are taken on as tenants 70,000 in the initial two years of residency.
“Now we can compete with law firms for the brightest law students,” said chief executive Peter Bennett. “We have been talking to staff at leading universities and found that if [students] were asked whether to go to the bar or join a solicitors’ firm they would say join the solicitors for security.”
Other sets are also trying to raise wages and security of earnings. Manchester’s 28 St John Street, which has a reputation for offering all pupils tenancy, pays 5,000 in the first six months of pupillage and 15,000 for the last six months and first half-year of tenancy.
Chief executive Mike Fry said the pay increase had not been set but will be in keeping with regional salaries.
Leading commercial set 20 Essex Street, meanwhile, offers a minimal expenses policy for junior tenants.
The chambers charges new recruits a few hundred pounds for room rent, office costs and contributions to staff salaries, instead of a normal contribution of 10-13 per cent of earnings.
Senior clerk Brian Lee said the scheme takes into account a newcomer’s reduced fees. “[For a first-year barrister] we charge a minimal hourly rate to clients, 25 per hour. This introduces new tenants to as many clients as possible,” he said.