St Philips guarantees tenancies for pupils

Birmingham-based St Philips Chambers has become the first major set to guarantee its pupils tenancies.

The news comes after the number of tenancies up for grabs plummeted dramatically last year to just 278 – a drop of almost 40 per cent on the previous year.

The 171-barrister set made the remarkable commitment after successfully piloting the scheme last year as part of its ongoing expansion plan.

Jonathan Fox, chief executive of the top 10 set, said that, when taking on pupils, St Philips is only looking for “candidates that will make it” and that to get such talent sets need to incentivise.

“We put a great deal of time and effort into training our pupils to make sure they’re in a position to be offered tenancy once they’ve completed their year,” said Fox, whose chambers on average offers four pupillages each year. “This is something we guarantee, providing they keep their side of the bargain.”

A minimum of four pupils will be taken on from a short-list of candidates, who will be vetted through auditions.

The potential pupils face being quizzed by a three-person panel and are then treated to a slap-up lunch, after which they are told whether they have made the cut.