This commercial set is a dab hand in insurance, offering pupils plenty of opportunities to appear in court.
2 Temple Gardens pupillage review 2024
A swanky corporate jet encounters a bad hailstorm flying over Europe, and by the time it lands, it’s gone down in value by $60 million. Somewhere in the distance, the insurers of said jet raise their fists to the sky in despair. Well, probably not, because they got 2 Temple Gardens on the case. Major insurers are regulars on the client list at 2TG, and lately, barristers here have been kept busy lately with litigation arising from challenges posed by the COVID-19 lockdowns. Charles Dougherty KC (who led the team on the aforementioned jet case) has also been advising Allianz in litigation brought by several eateries which suffered financial losses during the lockdowns, for example.
The majority of work here is insurance-based, but it isn’t the whole story. Senior clerk Lee Tyler points out that 2TG has an “active commercial practice as well,” covering commercial fraud, dispute resolution and banking and finance for corporates and high net worth individuals. The set’s “international arbitration is growing, as well, and forms a healthy part of what we do, and a lot of juniors are interested in that,” Tyler adds.
“2TG allows juniors to do personal injury, clinical negligence, lots of insurance, and also more commercial matters.”
For pupils and juniors, “the broad range of practice areas” was a massive drawcard. “I knew I wanted to do civil law,” said one pupil. “2TG allows juniors to do personal injury, clinical negligence, lots of insurance, and also more commercial matters.” Ranked at the very top for its property damage and international personal injury work by Chambers UK Bar, the set picks up strong ranking for product liability, and gets recognition for its expertise in clinical negligence, insurance, product liability, professional negligence and commercial dispute resolution.
In the property damage arena, the subject matter of cases can range from tree root damage up to major incidents like the Grenfell disaster in 2017. Charles Dougherty KC led the team representing the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea after the fire, while Neil Moody KC is defending the organisation that managed the tower against over 1,200 civil liability claims.
In a personal injury case, Marie Louise Kinsler KC acted for the Four Seasons hotel in Cairo in the proceedings that arose from the death of Professor Ian Brownlie, a barrister who died in a car crash in the city. Meanwhile on the commercial side, Dougherty acted for the former chairman of a Russian bank, who was accused of conspiring to defraud the bank and cause losses of $700 million.
“The atmosphere here really is collaborative and supportive,” according to juniors, and pupillage committee member Isabel Barter elaborates: “We have drinks, a book group, and enjoy each other’s company. If you need support, it’s there.” A pupil also highlighted “the fact that there are so many fantastic women who have children and have remarkable careers at chambers was inspirational. 2TG would help me build the life I wanted, not just the career I wanted.”
The Pupillage Experience
If you like the idea of putting down roots with 2TG, pupils sit with two supervisors in the first six, for three months each. And then, because pupils are in court and on their feet for the remainder of pupillage, “there’s just one supervisor throughout, so there’s no stress about swapping during the second six.” As a pupil, you’ll be “doing work for your supervisor and other members of chambers” during seats, so “you get to see quite a lot of different areas.”
Pupils do a mix of live and dead work in the first six. “I only got dead work in my first seat,” remembered one. “But the vast majority of my second seat was live work.” Barter explains that as a pupil “you’ll get old cases to see what your level is. As you gain confidence, they may give you live cases.” And, she continues, “if you do well, your supervisor may use your work, or you’ll do a piece of work alongside your supervisor and compare.” When pupils’ work was used, they said they felt the glow “of professional pride. You can see your own work in the finished product and it’s great to know your supervisor thinks it’s good enough to send to the client.”
“… in court two to three times a week.”
“In the second six,” says Barter, “you’re on your feet and definitely doing live cases.” Pupils, we heard, could expect to be “in court two to three times a week” doing a range of small claims work, “including traffic and contractual disputes, that kind of stuff. I even did an NHS defence,” remembered one junior. And the hours? “In the first six, both of my supervisors would instruct me to go home at 6pm or 6.30pm. In the second six, it can be slightly different,” one pupil said. “You’ve got your own work, but if people see me past 7pm, they tell me to go home.”
Rather than being thrown in the deep end, Barter tells us, “you’re given additional training” in the second six, such as talks on County Court advocacy, for example, “and you’ll go to court with a junior member to see how things work.” What juniors liked was how practical that training was. Things like “‘this is the clerk, this is who you need to find, the judge probably won’t have the papers, so take extra papers.’ So, when something happens to you, it’s not a surprise.”
And then “the training doesn’t stop just because you’re taken on.” One junior recalled, “I didn’t see much employment, so after tenancy I got some time with someone who does employment.” Pupils also liked that they receive “a mentor for the pupillage year. It’s someone who’s been in your shoes recently,” and “conversations are confidential and won’t reflect back to the pupillage committee.”
“People take turns providing cake.”
What the pupillage committee will be looped in on is the outcome of pupils’ formal assessments, which come in the form of lots of advocacy exercises, the exact number of which changes year to year. The results “form part of the overall picture,” for the tenancy decision, says Barter, but the committee also takes into account reports from supervisors and their recommendations based on the work pupils have done, alongside feedback from other members pupils have worked for. The committee then makes their recommendation to the board, which rubberstamps the final decision. “Generally,” explained juniors, “there are no surprises because you’ve already had that feedback.” In addition, “at the end of every seat, there’s a review with the head of pupillage, who will tell you whether you’re on track or not for tenancy.” And finally, says Barter, “when you’re told, we have a party!” In 2022, party poppers went off for the one pupil who gained tenancy.
Talking of parties, the set has “a nice social culture,” one pupil said, “Friday drinks and that sort of thing.” A junior noted: “We enjoy each other’s company. We have parties at least once a year, and the informal socialising is something I really enjoy.” In addition, there’s afternoon tea on Wednesdays, “and people take turns providing cake.”
The Application Process
“All our applications are on the Pupillage Gateway,” says Barter, “and the criteria are on our website.” Do be sure to check that out, but the TL;DR version is that the set is looking for six attributes through the entire application process, which Barter sketches out for us. “One, your intellectual ability. Two, the ability to think on your feet. Three, motivation,” which is “your commitment to practising at the Bar.” Four is ‘impact’, “which is measured by how articulate and confident your responses are and how reassuring your manner is.” Five is temperament – “in other words, your ability to work under pressure, cope with stress and remain calm.” A good example, says Barter, would be something like “studying while raising a family.” And no surprises with number six, which is “your commitment to 2TG.”
“You just needed to be able to present.”
In the current process for the written applications, the set uses “two different markers who work independently from each other,” says Barter. Once those have been moderated, “we invite the 40 best applicants to a first-round interview,” which includes an advocacy exercise. For that, “you didn’t need to know the law,” a pupil reassured us. “You just needed to be able to present.” Barter adds that "we review our recruitment process each year so there may be changes for the forthcoming round which will be publicised in advance."
The top 12 are then asked to complete a written exercise ahead of the final interview, which includes structured questions and a legal problem for candidates to work through. Much like in the first interview, “we try to ensure the written exercise and legal problem test legal aptitude rather than legal knowledge,” says Barter. “The point is, we’re trying to ensure that whether you’ve done the GDL or a legal degree at Oxford, you should be able to cope.” The legal problem is presented as part of an advocacy exercise in which the set acts “as if we’re a tribunal or a judge. It’s not combative,” Barter clarifies, “but we do intervene with questions and queries, as would be the case in court where a judge might say, ‘That’s not right,’ and that sort of thing.” The structured questions “are more competency-based,” says Barter. “And we will ask follow-up questions to make sure candidates can give their best answers.”
Garden variety: While the set covers a broad range of practices, don’t show up looking for a career in something the set doesn’t do – “We’ll say ‘no,’” says Lee Tyler. Apparently, it happens.
2 Temple Gardens
2 Temple Gardens,
2TG is regarded as one of the leading commercial and civil law barristers’ chambers. The chambers specialises in professional negligence, property damage, insurance and personal injury and also has significant practices in employment, technology, product liability, sport and clinical negligence, alongside strength in private international law.
Academically, you will need at least a high 2:1 degree to be considered. Chambers look for applicants who work well in teams and have the ability to get on with solicitors, clients and other members of chambers.
Chambers offers one of the most generously funded, well-structured and enjoyable pupillages at the Bar. It takes pupillage very seriously and aims to recruit the best applicants, and to ensure that its pupils have an excellent foundation from which to start a successful career at the Bar. Pupils have three different pupil supervisors during pupillage, and will also do work for other members of chambers. The aim is for pupils to experience as much of chambers’ work as possible during their pupillage year.
Mini-pupillage is the best way to get a feel for life at 2TG. Chambers offer 12 mini-pupillages per year in three set weeks. Mini-pupillages are three days long and during that time you will see a range of barristers’ work. You will be asked to undertake an assessed piece of work and a short interview at the conclusion of the mini-pupillage.
Details of mini pupillage dates for 2024 will be set out on the 2TG website.
Applications are accepted via the website by completing the online form.
Please see www.2tg.co.uk for details of the award.
This Firm's Rankings in
UK Bar, 2023
- Group Litigation (Band 2)
- Clinical Negligence (Band 3)
- Commercial Dispute Resolution (Band 5)
- Insurance (Band 3)
- Personal Injury (Band 2)
- Product Liability (Band 2)
- Professional Negligence (Band 4)
- Property Damage (Band 1)
- Travel: International Personal Injury (Band 1)