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Cornerstone Barristers – 12 months – October 2025

Please Note: The application deadline for this job has now passed.

Pupillage Vacancy Information

About Authorised Education and Training Organisation
Cornerstone Barristers is a leading chambers with particular expertise in the following practice areas:
•             Public Law and Judicial Review
•             Planning and Environment
•             Housing
•             Licensing
•             Information Law
•             Property
•             Commercial and Regulatory
•             Inquests and Inquiries
•             Court of Protection
•             Health and Social Care
•             Local Government
We have a diverse client base and act for corporates, the government and local authorities, professionals and private individuals.  We work mainly from our chambers in Gray’s Inn in London and have satellite offices in Birmingham and Cardiff. Our attractive premises provide the highest standard of facilities for clients, barristers and administration.

We currently have 64 barrister members including 14 KCs. Our barristers appear in the full range of courts and tribunals including the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. 11 of our junior tenants are on the Attorney General's panels, giving them access to a varied range of public law work.
Our members are regularly involved in ground breaking and high profile cases across our areas of practice.  We also participate in a great deal of public interest litigation. Our members have acted in cases concerning matters as diverse as the government’s policy on net zero, airport expansion, renewable energy projects such as solar farms, gang injunctions, litigation involving Uber and similar platforms, the use of former military bases as accommodation for asylum seekers, and other nationally important planning developments and public law challenges. Recent Supreme Court cases include R (Worcestershire County Council) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2023] UKSC 31, R (Imam) v London Borough of Croydon and R (Finch on behalf of Weald Action Group) v Surrey County Council and others

As a set, we advise the government at all levels as well as many leading public interest groups. Our members also lead or serve on the boards of a number of organisations, industry groups and professional bodies.
Members have authored many specialist legal books relevant to our practice areas. These include the prestigious Cornerstone on series, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing. More titles are in the pipeline and there will be many opportunities for successful candidates to contribute.
We pride ourselves on being a friendly, collaborative, diverse and interesting group of practitioners who are supported by first-class administration, marketing and clerking. Our collegiality was recognised at the Legal Cheek Awards 2023, where we won Best Chambers for Colleague Supportiveness.
At Cornerstone Barristers, we recognise the vital role pupillage has in keeping our chambers at the forefront of the modern legal profession. We understand how important it is to have fresh minds with new approaches progressing through the set. Pupillage is a challenging time and the standards we expect of our pupils are high, but we promise to give pupils the support to ensure their experience is incredibly rewarding.

Structure of Pupillage

Pupils are allocated to a supervisor and usually have an opportunity to meet their supervisors before the start of pupillage. Each pupil shares a room with their supervisor and works closely with them. We train pupil barristers so as to ensure each has the knowledge, skills and attributes expected of barristers as set out in the Bar Standards Board’s Professional Statement for Barristers. We also organise advocacy training sessions so pupils can put their skills against one another or a junior member in front of a 'judge'.
You will sit with at least three pupil supervisors during your year of pupillage, and together they will cover the core practice areas within chambers.
During pupillage you will have the opportunity to work alongside leading barristers in their field who will be instructed on important and complex litigation. During your first six months, you are likely to accompany members on trips to planning inquiries, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, as well as all the lower courts and tribunals. In return, you are expected to work hard and produce excellent written work which will, in part, inform our tenancy selection process.
Prior to the start of your second six, your pupil supervisors will ensure that you spend time with the junior members of chambers and accompany them to court, in order to understand the work that they do and that you may be instructed to do in your second six when you are on your feet. In addition to your supervisors, the junior members of chambers will always be ready to talk you through any concerns that you have.
Pupils are automatically considered for tenancy at the conclusion of their pupillage.  During your time with us your supervisors will prepare reports on your work. Members you have worked with will be asked for feedback, as will any instructing solicitors and our clerking team. The pupillage committee normally meets regularly to review each pupil’s progress and ensure they are on track. At their final meeting the pupillage committee will make a recommendation on a tenancy offer. A decision on that recommendation is determined by a majority of members voting at a full chambers meeting. That decision will be based not simply on the qualities of the individual applicant but also on whether there is a vacancy for a junior tenant at that time.
There is no getting away from the fact that a pupil's life is intense, but all Cornerstone barristers, junior and senior, are committed to supporting you.
Financial Support Available
Cornerstone Barristers offers two pupillages each year via the Pupillage Gateway. Each pupillage lasts for 12 months and there is an award of £70,000 for the year (a £50,000 basic award and guaranteed minimum earnings of £20,000 in your second six months). 

Equality Diversity and Inclusion

The principles of equal opportunity and diversity are a fundamental part of Cornerstone Barristers’ philosophy and are essential to our success as a thriving set. It is our unequivocal policy not to discriminate against anyone, either directly or indirectly, on grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, maternity or paternity, disability, religion or belief, age, part-time, fixed-term or contractual status, or on any other irrelevant or irrational basis.
In particular, Chambers is committed to ensuring that it selects pupils, tenants and employees without discrimination, that discriminatory considerations play no part in the allocation of work within chambers, and that we do not accept instructions from solicitors who seek to select Counsel on a discriminatory basis. We endeavour to treat everyone, both inside and outside Chambers, with attention, courtesy, respect and consideration. We also aim to ensure that our pupillage, work experience, employment and membership opportunities are open and accessible to all based on individual qualities and personal merit.
We have a well-established equality and diversity policy (available on our website) which we review at least annually to ensure that it remains current and responsive. We have established a comprehensive diversity action plan to ensure that the principles of the policy are properly put into practice. We also take part in several initiatives to promote diversity at the bar. In 2021, we developed a Mentoring Scheme with four other public law/planning sets. The scheme supports individuals from backgrounds which are not currently well represented at the Bar. Candidates are paired with a barrister mentor who offers regular one-to-one meetings to give an understanding about a career at the Bar and provide support during the application process.  In addition to the one-on-one meetings, the scheme offers group workshops and social events. We also participate in the 10,000 Black Interns programme, which provides paid training and work experience for young black talent. 
We welcome applications through the Pupillage Gateway from everyone and would particularly encourage candidates to apply from backgrounds that have not traditionally been represented at the Bar.
Please direct any inquiries in this regard to .

How to Apply

Aspiring barristers are invited to apply to chambers between 3 January 2024 and 7 February 2024 by using the Pupillage Gateway application system to search for the relevant Pupillage Vacancy and selecting 'Apply for this pupillage'. 

In addition to the standardised Bar Council questionnaire, candidates will be asked to respond to the following questions from Chambers. 

1. Why do you believe you will make a good barrister? (500 words)
Why do you want to apply to Cornerstone Barristers? (500 words)
Which area(s) of practice do you want to specialise in and why? (500 words)
Identify a time when you found working with others a challenge and explain how you overcame the challenge. (500 words)
Please given an example of a time when you had to show resilience. (500 words)
Identify one aspect of the planning system you would change and explain why. (500 words)
Should the duty of candour in judicial review be abolished and replaced with the standard duty of disclosure at CPR 31.6? Please give reasons for your views. (500 words) 

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