1COR is growing beyond its clinical negligence, public law and professional negligence trident into a whole new world of niches.
You are my sunshine
1 Crown Office Row the chambers settled into 1 Crown Office Row the building after their original dwelling was destroyed by bombs during World War II. Marketing manager Olivia Kaplan tells us the founding members were “not merely colleagues but friends, and this warmth and friendliness has been a distinctive feature which continues to the present.” The bulk of the set’s practice fits into one of three spheres: clinical negligence, administrative and public law, and professional discipline and negligence. All three earn 1COR top-tier rankings either in London or nationwide in Chambers UK; other ranked areas include environment, human rights, family and matrimonial and commercial dispute resolution, the last two driven from the set’s Brighton outpost.
Kaplan tells us that these three specialisms aren’t the whole story – “everything’s growing” in other areas of 1COR’s practice. “It’s go, go, go!” Employment and cyber law are “going steady with a couple of big projects” and the tax team has made some recent additions. “There’s a healthy spread of juniors and two leading silks who all love doing tax work,” Kaplan says. “They’re often in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, normally on indirect tax cases. Occasionally this also means appearing in the CJEU [Courts of Justice of the European Union].” Another growing area perhaps more exciting than tax (apologies to black letter law fans) is sports law, specifically the medical side of it. "Following on from the rising awareness of undiagnosed brain injuries in American footballers, we expect to see similar cases in the UK over the next few years," a source shared. This work is “low-level” for now, but Kaplan advises us to keep our eyes peeled for a boom in the next few years.
“It’s go, go, go!”
As for the marquee practices, administrative and public law covers judicial reviews and major public inquests and inquiries. Barristers at 1COR have been working on the NHS infected blood inquiry, inquests into deaths caused in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings and 2017 Westminster terror attacks, and so many more examples that we don’t have space to list them. Members also worked on an appeal to the Supreme Court over whether or not the prohibition of smoking in public spaces applied in state prisons. “It’s a healthy balance of all kinds of public law work,” a junior source noted.
Clinical negligence at 1COR covers personal injury, compensations and child abuse inquiries. Elizabeth Anne-Gumbel QC acted on a case where over 100 women brought claims of sexual abuse by a now-deceased GP. Two 1COR members stood on opposite sides of the aisle on a case brought by a claimant who won a £37 million award after they contracted herpes simplex as a newborn. Pupils told us that “because clinical negligence cases can settle quickly, there’s not as much court work” on offer during pupillage. Doctors, vets, solicitors and other professionals involved in misconduct cases form the client base in professional discipline and negligence. Clodagh Bradley QC recently represented an osteopath who performed a cranial technique on a four-week old baby, after which the parents claimed excessive force. Junior member Matthew Hill acted for a dentist after a patient claimed negligence and falsification of dental records. For our sources, these cases involved “visiting court and attending an awful lot of preliminary hearings and roundtable negotiations.”
Whistle while you work
Pupillage consists of four ‘stages’ with a new supervisor each time, though pupils frequently grab work from other members. It’s common to sit with two different members who specialise in the same practice – pupils pointed out that “you’ll get to see two different styles in that area, that was helpful.” The entire first six is paper-based – pupils work on pleadings, advices, research notes and skeleton arguments. They also get to attend court and hearings with their supervisor or other members. These supervisors are integral to pupil's training: “I do a draft, they do one, and then we compare each other’s. We’ll go through any feedback like whether I’ve missed or could have expanded on any points.” Interviewees described this as a “helpful learning experience.”
During their second six, pupils receive instructions from solicitors on low-value claims like slip ’n’ trips, RTAs and Stage 3 hearings: “where someone has admitted they’re at fault for a car accident and we’re arguing with the opponent over the value of the claim.” These hearings were popular among pupils as “they usually only last a day – they’re like a full trial but in miniature!” A perhaps more challenging workstream involves representing the Home Office to try and deny immigration appeals. Pro bono is also “encouraged – as long as you can fit it in around assessed and paid work.” Interviewees got involved with undertaking inquests, planning and human rights immigration cases and some Free Representation Unit work.
"They’re like a full trial but in miniature!”
Working hours for pupils in their first six are a pretty standard 9am to 6pm and “if you’re still in past 6.30pm, your supervisor tells you to go home.” Second-sixers can “occasionally see some later hours, but I wouldn’t say it’s in any way extreme,” a pupil said. “Chambers doesn’t want you working crazy long hours.”
As part of a chambers buddy scheme, pupils each pair with a junior tenant. Every six months they also do a check-in with the head of pupillage, who “makes sure you’re happy and can answer any questions you have about the second six.” Pupils appreciated that members’ doors are “always open if we want a chat, without exception, even if they’re busy.” Juniors described their fellow tenants as “a nice bunch” who enjoy informal weekly drinks and host informal chambers cake and tea that would make Paul Hollywood proud: “All the cakes are homemade. We’ve got a lot of star bakers here!” There are also more formal events like a chambers garden party and charity work including fun runs, quizzes and sporting events.
Chattanooga choo choo
1COR has set up a bunch of diversity and outreach initiatives, such as reaching out to school students in lower income areas to “break down stereotypes” of the Bar. They’re usually targeted at ages 14 to 18, though one member recently went into a primary school and “held a mock court with a bunch of six-year-olds – they tried on the wigs and everything!” The set runs an assessed mini-pupillage for candidates from less advantaged backgrounds – they’re also guaranteed a first-round interview. Kaplan confirms that these programmes are designed to “knock down barriers that potential applicants may be facing.”
Applying for pupillage here begins at the Gateway; the best few dozen candidates attend the first round of interviews with a few members. This first-round features core questions linked to 1COR’s practice and a case exercise: “I was asked exactly why I disagreed with the outcome of the case.” The second interview is “a little more tailored to applicants,” conducted by a larger panel. “It like there were like 30 people on the other side of the table, but in reality, it was seven!” Interviewers range from junior tenants to the head of pupillage: “They drilled into my previous experiences, what I’d developed in other walks of life and what my personality is like.”
“You need to work hard, perform under pressure and sympathise with the client.”
Chambers usually takes two pupils each year. There’s often a third-six pupillage available too, which is advertised on the Bar Council website. The sensitive subject matter of much of chambers’ work means that they’re looking for people who are “empathic – you need to work hard, perform under pressure and sympathise with the client. We need a human touch.”
All members of chambers have a say in the tenancy decision. Every piece of written work from pupillage is evaluated and discussed – “chambers as a whole votes ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ and you get a call very soon after.” Pupils assured us that “you’re not taken by surprise – it’ll be quite clear before the ultimate decision whether you’ve made it.” Though the aim is to keep everyone on, anybody who doesn’t completely mesh with chambers will receive recommendations and “they're still welcome at our events.” In 2019, both of the set's pupils achieved tenancy.
1COR offers new tenants financial aid in a number of ways (find the details on the set's website). “It’s really helpful – everyone has bills to pay and the first few years can be rocky.”
1 Crown Office Row
- No of Silks: 26
- No of Juniors: 46 (LDN), 57 (BRI)
- Total trainees: London: 2 pupils, up to 13 mini-pupils and up to 10 assessed mini-pupils. Brighton: 2 pupils and up to 10 mini-pupils in Brighton.
- Graduate recruiterPupillage Gateway / 1COR website.
- Training partner See our Careers page on the website for details
- Application criteria: Via the Pupillage Gateway
- Dates and deadlines:
- Pupillage applications open: Pupillage Gateway / 1COR website
- Training contract deadline, 2020 start: Pupillage Gateway / 1COR website
- Mini-Pupillage applications open London: 29th November 2019
- Brighton:1st October 2019
- Vacation scheme 2019 deadline:
- London: 28th February 2020
- Brighton: 28th February 2020
- Salary and benefits:
- Brighton:£20,000 amount
- Holiday entitlement
- Pupils: 20 working days
Chambers profile 1 Crown Office Row, the Chambers of Richard Booth QC, is recognised as one of the leading sets in the UK, particularly in the fields of civil and public law. Our commitment to excellence and stellar reputation for advocacy has led to a dedicated and diverse client base.
Members practise in a broad range of Civil Law specialisms including Health Law, Public Law, Professional Discipline, Professional Negligence, Inquests, Public Inquiries, Human Rights, Environmental Law, Immigration, Tax and Multinational Torts. Our barristers have been involved in many of the leading cases in these areas, frequently appearing in the European Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. Recently, this has included the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, Windrush (Martin Forde QC), Paterson Inquiry, M4 Relief Road, IICSA, CAAT Appeal, GN v Poole and Darnley v Croydon. Historically this has included Montgomery, Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation and Hillsborough Inquests.
Our Brighton Annexe is considered a leading regional set. Members offer extensive experience in Civil, Criminal and Family law as well as Alternative Dispute Resolution. Members are actively involved in the legal community, including acting as Co-Chair of the Sussex Family Justice Board.
We run the acclaimed UK Human Rights Blog and award-winning podcast LawPod UK. Members are engaged with the wider legal community, including editing Halsbury’s Law, The Inquest Book and widening access to the Bar with The Sutton Trust and #IAmTheBar.
Training Opportunties You will quickly become involved in whatever your Pupil Supervisor is doing at the time, so be prepared to hit the ground running. You will be expected to contribute meaningfully – so please don’t expect a quiet life in the shadows providing administrative support. We are much more interested in your brain than your photocopying. As a friendly set you will get to know us, and more importantly, we will get to know you, in no time.
Pupillage is divided into four stages in London and two stages in Brighton, each supervised by a principal Pupil Supervisor. They will provide feedback on your progress and work so you know how you are doing. There will also be an induction and a review with our Head of Pupillage, which isn’t as scary as it sounds and is often accompanied by cake! Every twelve-month and third-six pupil has the potential to become a tenant and we have a good record of offering tenancies to our pupils.
Become familiar with life in chambers through our famous chambers teas, in-house training opportunities, sporting and charitable events. In London, we run a pupil ‘buddy’ system, with a junior tenant to support you. Our commitment to supporting our pupils is reflected by our piloting of the new Bar Council Pupillage Scheme and our outstanding Legal Cheek score of A* for Pupillage and A for chambers overall.
Vacation Scheme Mini-pupillages at Crown Office Row aim to help people to decide whether a career at the Bar is for them and to expose them to relevant and appropriate experience of our work.
For our Brighton Annexe, while mini-pupillage plays no formal role in the selection of pupils, it may assist the applicant to understand the culture of Chambers first-hand.
We uniquely run an assessed mini-pupillage scheme in London specifically for applicants from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds as part of our commitment to widening access to the Bar. Criteria, benefits and how to apply are available on our website.
Email: London: [email protected]; Brighton: [email protected]
Twitter: @1CrownOfficeRow / @CORBrighton
Blog: UK Human Rights
Blog Podcast: Law Pod UK
This Firm's Rankings in
UK Bar, 2019
- Inquests & Public Inquiries (Band 1)
- Civil Liberties & Human Rights (Band 3)
- Clinical Negligence (Band 1)
- Environment (Band 2)
- Personal Injury (Band 2)
- Professional Discipline (Band 1)
South Eastern (Bar)
- Commercial Dispute Resolution (Band 1)
- Family/Matrimonial (Band 2)