About 4 Stone Buildings

4 Stone Buildings specialises in company/commercial litigation and advice. However, since few business disputes or problems lend themselves to rigid categorisation, we cover a wide range of related legal specialisations in our core areas of expertise including company law, insolvency, financial services and civil fraud. Members of Chambers are just as likely to appear in the Commercial Court as in the Chancery Division, and we are also frequently instructed in cases overseas, particularly in the Caribbean and the Far East, and in arbitrations. Apart from our commercial clientele, we also have a strong regulatory tradition in the commercial and financial sectors. The principal legal directories have consistently ranked us as one of the top civil sets at the Bar in our core areas of expertise, and Chambers and individual members are frequent winners at the Chambers UK Bar Awards and the Legal 500 Bar Awards.

How pupillage works

We aim to give pupils the knowledge, skills and practical experience they need for a successful career at the Bar and to help make the transition from academic life to practical, real life at the Bar. We believe that it is important for all pupils to see as much as possible of the different kinds of work in Chambers. This enables pupils to judge whether our work suits them, and enables different members of Chambers to assess the pupils. Each pupil therefore normally spends time with four pupil supervisors during the year.

All pupils work in their pupil supervisor’s room, read their papers, attend their conferences, draft pleadings and documents, write draft opinions and accompany their pupil supervisor to Court. However, if other members of Chambers have particularly interesting cases in Court, pupils will be encouraged to work and attend Court with them.

Chambers recognises that pupillage is a stressful time and aims to provide a supportive and friendly environment. All pupils will be assigned a mentor, who will be a junior member of Chambers and available to talk to in confidence. Chambers tea takes place daily (when circumstances permit) and pupils are encouraged to attend Chambers tea as often as they are able.

The senior clerk is a member of the Pupillage Committee and takes a keen interest in all pupils, offering help and advice.

Selection process

The selection process consists of an application form (submitted via the Pupillage Gateway) and a single-round interview process.

Candidates are expected to have a first class, or good second class, degree (not necessarily in law). However, mere intellectual ability is only part of it: a successful candidate must have the confidence and ambition to succeed, the common sense to recognise the practical advice a client really needs, and an ability to get on well with clients, solicitors and other members of Chambers and the clerks. As with all Chambers, pupils are now assessed against the competences set out in the BSB’s Professional Statement for Barristers further details of which are found (along with other materials relating to pupillage generally) on the BSB’s website at www.barstandardsboard.org.uk page here.

Funding

Chambers currently offers an award of £70,000 for each 12-month pupillage of which £45,000 is payable in equal monthly instalments in the first 6 months and £25,000 is payable in equal monthly instalments in the second 6 months.

Pupils can draw down up to 30% of the award in the year prior to pupillage on written request to Chambers.

Chambers also funds the cost of the compulsory course which a pupil must attend during pupillage.

Tenancy

The tenancy decision is normally taken in July. Our general policy is to recruit all pupils who meet the required standard for tenancy.

Chambers has a good history of offering tenancy to its pupils. In the last 5 years, we have recruited 89% of our pupils as tenants.

New members rapidly build up their own practice, with a mix between their own cases and cases where they act as junior to more senior members of Chambers. New tenants are offered their first year rent-free. It is expected that new tenants will earn, as a minimum, the equivalent of their pupillage award in their first year of tenancy and are not asked to contribute towards Chambers’ expenses until they do.

How to apply

All applications should be made through the Pupillage Gateway.

Timetable

Chambers recruits in accordance with the Pupillage Gateway timetable.

Applications for pupillage open on 4 January 2021 at 11:00am. The deadline for applications is 11.00am on 8 February 2021 at 11:00am.

Offers will be made on Friday 7 May 2021. Chambers usually operates a reserve list and will contact candidates who are on the reserve list.

Further information (links to other sources)

See our advert on the Pupillage Gateway here.

Read the Chambers Student entry for 4 Stone Buildings here.

Mini-pupillage

A mini-pupillage at 4 Stone Buildings is neither a pre-requisite for applying for pupillage with us, nor does it form part of our selection process. However, we do welcome and encourage anyone considering applying for pupillage at 4 Stone Buildings to do a mini-pupillage with us so as to get a better understanding of the work we do and the culture in Chambers to assist potential pupils in deciding if we are the right place for them.

Although Chambers has had to suspend its usual “in-person” mini-pupillage programme in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic, we are keen to provide as much assistance as possible to those who wish to gain an insight into life at the commercial/chancery Bar.

First, we have established a virtual mini-pupillage which lasts for one day during which the mini-pupil will be able to discuss pupillage with junior members as well as being introduced to the work done in Chambers. Please complete and return the application form (available to download on the right of this page) to pupillage@4stonebuildings.com. We are currently accepting applications for mini-pupillage to take place between 10 September 2021 and 21 December 2021. Please apply by 30 June 2021.

Second, our pupillage team in Chambers can arrange for anyone thinking of applying for pupillage with us to speak to members of Chambers by phone or video conference. Please email pupillage@4stonebuildings.com for more information and to arrange a discussion.

Equality and Diversity

4 Stone Buildings is an equal opportunities employer. We believe that our success depends on sustaining a working environment that is free from discrimination, prejudice, harassment or victimisation. It is our policy that no member of Chambers, pupil or employee shall discriminate against anyone on the ground of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, social or economic background, religion or political persuasion. We value the contribution that all of our members, pupils, employees, clients and contacts make to the success of Chambers and we strive to ensure that it remains a working environment free from any form of discrimination. Our Equality and Diversity  Officers monitor diversity and discrimination issues in Chambers particularly in relation to the recruitment of staff, pupils and tenants and the allocation of work to barristers.