St Philips hikes pupil pay to match sets in London

Birmingham-based St Philips Chambers will almost double its pupillage pay in 2007, in an attempt to match rates paid by London sets.

The amount it offers for a 12-month pupillage will rise from the current 18,000 to 35,000 in 2007, mirroring the awards of most barristers’ chambers in the City.

However, research carried out by Lawyer 2B’s sister title The Lawyer shows that rates in London will also increase by 2007. Maintaining its position as the highest-paying set in the country, 3 Verulam Buildings is due to lift its own award to 42,000.

Other chambers, including Four New Square and One Essex Court, are also planning pay rises above 40,000 in 2007, with more sets likely to follow suit.

Meanwhile, chambers increasingly offer guaranteed earnings to new tenants in an effort to cushion the transition from pupil to self-employed barrister. Interest free loans are also offered by several sets, and many chambers reduce new tenants’ running-cost contributions for up to a year.

The news comes at a time when finding a pupillage is increasingly difficult. The number of available places dropped by 20 per cent in 2004, and not every successful pupil is given tenancy at the end of the year.

However, it means young barristers are now far better paid than trainee solicitors, who receive an average of 28,000 in the City.