2TG promises pupils a broad spectrum of work, from personal injury to commercial disputes, plus the chance to get on their feet early.
Got it covered
You might become slightly breathless as you climb the aquamarine-tiled staircase five flights up to the top floor of 2 Temple Gardens, a sumptuous Victorian pile in the Temple just a few yards from the Thames. From the vantage point of the library's balconies, the view of the Thames in all its murky, mysterious glory might cause further palpitations. What better place to fall ill than here though: this set's members are experts in the personal injury, clinical negligence and insurance fields.
“A substantial amount of our income comes from personal injury."
But this isn't all 2TG does. Senior clerk Lee Tyler describes 2TG as having a diverse practice: “Broadly speaking you can divide our work equally between common law and commercial law. Within the common law section personal injury, clinical negligence and employment are dominant. Our pure commercial side consists of commercial dispute resolution, commercial fraud, civil fraud, and banking and finance. General insurance work, like property damage and professional negligence, somewhat straddles the two sides.” In terms of who's bringing home the bacon, Tyler says: “A substantial amount of our income comes from personal injury, collectively followed by property damage, commercial dispute resolution and clin neg.”
Chambers UK awards 2TG its highest rankings for property damage and travel work, with personal injury, product liability, clinical negligence, insurance and professional negligence also well regarded. Travel barrister Howard Palmer QC was recently involved in the landmark case of a British woman who was injured in an accident in Egypt during a trip booked via a Four Seasons branch, and who sued Four Seasons' Canadian holding company.
Clinical negligence barristers have extensive medical knowledge and are experienced in birth-related injury, cerebral palsy, catastrophic disability and psychiatric injury claims among other things. A junior barrister was recently successful in defending King's College Hospital NHS Trust in a High Court case involving a dispute about part of the placenta being left in the claimant's uterus after childbirth. It's worth mentioning that while the set works for both defendants and claimants, the clin neg practice especially is more defendant-side.
Sports is another area of specialism at 2TG, often in relation to personal injury, but not solely. Member Stuart Benzie is currently advising a Premier League football club in a dispute with a top Italian club relating to contractual issues; he also acted for West Ham in a dispute with Viagogo relating to a sponsorship agreement. In other news, property damage silks recently succeeded in getting a £7.5 million flood damage claim dismissed, while commercial disputes barristers represented automotive safety products company TRW, successfully overturning the lower court's ruling in the Court of Appeal, in a case concerning the electric motors used in a car's power steering system.
Give it to me straight
Applications to 2TG are made through the Pupillage Gateway. After a paper sift, 220 or so applications are shaved down to up to 45 who are invited to an assessment day. About 15 are then summoned to the final interview. When considering written applications, head of the pupillage committee Charles Dougherty QC looks mostly at the answers to the questions, at academics and at any significant prizes or awards won, and “when two candidates' academic results are comparable, extracurriculars such as mooting and work experience can begin to set them apart.”
The assessment day features a group exercise involving problem solving and advocacy. Those who stand out make it to a final round where they are given an hour upon arrival to consider a problem question, before heading into a one-hour panel interview, designed not to test legal knowledge but rather “the skills needed to excel as a barrister.” Be sure to give evidence-based responses.
Pupillage at 2TG is structured so that pupils spend time with three supervisors: two during their first six, and one for their second six. In 2016 however, the set introduced a new element into the mix: a four-week period in June during which pupils spend time with four extra supervisors for one week each. Throughout the year, “you sometimes take work from other members besides your supervisor.” In the second six, 2TG gets pupils up on their feet as soon as possible, and as frequently as possible, usually a couple of times of week. Small PI claims are the usual fodder for pupils.
“It's not as scary as it sounds."
Assessment at 2TG is designed so that “there are no surprises when it comes to the tenancy decision.” Pupils are given a written assessment at the end of each seat by their supervisor, who concludes the write-up by ticking one of three boxes: “yes, no or maybe.” This relates to their opinion, at that time, of whether the pupil is on track to make tenancy. From the safety of the other side, a baby junior deemed this system “sensational” for its transparency. We probed a bit deeper and heard from a pupil who stressed that “it's not as scary as it sounds. Every supervisor is different but they all give clear feedback, and the 'yes, no, maybe' judgement is never decreed from on high; there's always a collaborative discussion.”
Pupils take part in a mock advocacy exercise, but this is treated as training and is not formally assessed. The set doesn't put pupils through any formal assessments or written exercises. Eventually, the tenancy decision is made by the pupillage committee and in 2017 the set made tenants of two of its three pupils. A source advised that “being adaptable and seeing the year as a learning opportunity” are attitudes that will stand you in good stead.
Your cup of tea
2TG doesn't force pupils to do long, gruelling hours. One source told us that “you usually just mirror your supervisor, and leave when they leave. As long as you get the work done, there's no extra pressure.” Weekly tea is a staple at 2TG and yes, “pupils do get to speak. People really try to engage you, and attendance is good.” For something stronger, members can head to Friday drinks. A Christmas party organised by junior tenants and a summer shindig are also popular occasions to “mingle with colleagues in a social setting.”
This seems to be a set that knows how to wind down: “Our training boot camp takes place in Marrakesh, which makes it a lot more relaxed. You can't wear shorts and flip-flops in chambers, after all!” In addition, retreats to members' country houses ("under the guise of it being a marketing event") and cycling holidays to Italy contribute to an active social calendar.
Such events show that 2TG knows how to mix the serious with the not so serious, and the same rigour-meets-fun approach seems to apply to tea breaks in chambers too. We couldn't help but notice several all-caps, laminated signs around chambers informing members and staff that special mugs (pictured on the sign, for unequivocal clarity) must not be taken past a certain point, as they belong in a specific wing of chambers. In retort, however, humorous Amélie-style photos of one of said mugs posing outside the Duomo in Milan and in other European locations are tacked here and there, confirming the chilled, sunny vibe the set espouses.
Up to four or five years call junior tenants retain a broad practice covering both common law and commercial. “I don't know anyone else at my level who has as broad a practice as I do," a baby junior said.
2TG - 2 Temple Gardens
2 Temple Gardens,
- No of silks 14
- No of juniors 49
- No of pupils 2
- Contact [email protected]
- Method of application Pupillage Gateway
- Pupillages (pa) up to three 12-month pupillages
- Award 2017/18 £70,000
Please note that applicants will only be considered after their first year of a law degree or during CPE. The best time to do a mini-pupillage is in the year or so prior to applying for pupillage. In the 2017/18 term year, mini-pupillages will be offered in the following weeks:
■ 4-8 December 2017. The deadline for applications is Friday 27 October 2017
■ 12-16 March 2018. The deadline is Friday 26 January 2018
Applications are accepted via the website by completing the online form.