Common law and commercial set 2TG gives pupils plenty of chance to hear their own voice in a courtroom.
Is there a lawyer in the house?
Torn between common law and commercial? In the words of the kid from the Old El Paso advert who became a meme... why not both? 2TG's practice is “majority insurance-based” according to senior clerk Lee Tyler – that is to say claimant and defendant personal injury, clinical negligence, property damage and product liability – but members are doing “more and more commercial work for large corporations, and our eye is very much on growing our commercial abilities.” This side of the set's practice includes general commercial disputes, banking and finance, and civil fraud.
2TG's Chambers UK rankings come chiefly for insurance-y areas, but since 2017 the set has also been ranked for commercial disputes. Lee Tyler tells us that new members tend to keep their practice broad – he explains that “many of 2TG's areas of expertise overlap. For example, fire damage to a property often results from a product malfunctioning.” Newcomers invariably cut their teeth on small personal injury claims.
“Many of 2TG's areas of expertise overlap.”
Members do PI work related to all kinds of injuries. For example, representing the widow of a cyclist who died after crashing on a training ride because of a massive pothole, acting for a child who suffered severe brain damage after a near-drowning, and defending a rugby club over concussion suffered by a player during a match. In addition, Benjamin Browne QC represented Morrisons in a Supreme Court liability case after a supermarket employee allegedly assaulted a member of the public at a petrol station. Clin neg cases require medical know-how as well as legal expertise and encompass everything from diseases and brain damage to birth-related problems and psychiatric health. Caroline Harrison QC recently acted for the attorney general of the island of St Helena in a case related to someone being sterilised without their consent. On the property damage side of things members have recently been active on a £13.5 million dispute about car park construction and a $30 million case over damage to a Qatari power plant after a gas turbine failed.
Barristers do quite a bit of travel-related PI work – Brits getting injured while on their hols. For instance, one silk defended the Four Seasons hotel in a claim over an accident on a tour in Egypt and worked on a case related to a cycling holidaymaker who was mown down by a motorist driving on the wrong side of the road in Costa Rica. Lee Tyler says that international work in all its different forms is “growing all the time and will continue to increase post-Brexit.” In one international commercial dispute Charles Dougherty QC acted for the Brazilian government in the largest corruption case in the country's history. Members have also been working on the Kenyan Emergency group litigation claim against the Foreign Office alleging mistreatment of 40,000 Kenyans by the British in the 1950s and 60s.
All green lights
The bulk of pupillage is spent with three supervisors – two for three months at a time in the first six, then one for the second six. For a period in the second six, pupils rotate between a number of mini-seats (e.g. of one week each) “to let other members get a good look at you.” A baby junior reckoned they'd “worked for ten to 15 different people over the course of pupillage.” Employment, clinical negligence, commercial property, partnership disputes and arbitration are all possible avenues to explore, and “all you need to do is express interest in an area to get involved.” Pupils initially spend their time drafting advices and pleadings, attending hearings and doing legal research.
In the second six, pupils balance work for their supervisor with handling their own cases, typically “run of the mill” road traffic accidents and basic contractual disputes. “It's almost like you're on training wheels,” according to interviewees, “and the pressure's off because there's no chance you could be sinking a major insurer if you screw up.” Pupils do get put on “multiple trials early in the second six,” which we heard “can be stressful, but it's so much fun and you quickly pick up on tricks you wouldn't without that practical experience.” Supervisors typically enforce a pretty strict 9am to 6.30pm working day.
“Multiple trials early in the second six.”
Lee Tyler tells us about his relationship with pupils: “As clerks we foster relations between our core insurer clients and pupils early on, so from day one of their second six they've already got a client base.” Pupils get an award of £55,000 topped up with guaranteed earnings of £15,000 in the second six to form one of the highest pupil pay packages at the Bar. "Ordinarily pupils will exceed the guaranteed earnings in their second six," pupillage committee member Luka Krsljanin says.
Pupils complete two advocacy exercises in the first six. One takes the form of a freezing injunction application supported by a written skeleton; the second is a mini-trial hosted “just before pupils get on their feet to give them some experience.” These aren't formally assessed, but 2TG maintains a pretty intensive regime to keep pupils in the loop about their progress. There are a series of written exercises sprinkled throughout pupillage, after which supervisors conclude whether tenancy is looking likely. “What I loved about it was how clear everything was,” a past pupil recounted. Luka Krsljanin says: "Chambers is expanding and we'll keep as many people on as we can." In 2019, all three pupils took up tenancy.
You've got the gig
The firm planned to tweak the format of its application process for 2019, but here's how it has worked up until now: after the initial application sift 40 to 45 candidates were invited to an assessment day, during which they were split into groups of five for a debating session, before individual advocacy tests in the form of a three-minute presentation followed by another candidate asking questions. Around 15 then progressed to a final interview at which interviewees got 45 minutes to prepare an answer to a legal problem, after which they spent an hour in front of an interview panel. The problem question has usually been “relatively topical” – a recent example concerned the nature of the gig economy. "What's key is not your specific legal knowledge in the sense of being able to recall specific authorities," says Krsljanin, "but being able to form a coherent, common-sense argument that responds to the questions posed." He continues: “Pay attention to detail – every word is there for a reason and the best candidates are those who spot that.” A fair number of 2TG's most junior members were Oxbridge undergraduates, though the junior end also contains graduates of Warwick and Nottingham; almost all had then gone on to postgraduate studies and most had won a small handful of awards.
Interviewees described 2TG's members as “a collection of very different people who are all respectful of one another and get on well.” Time and again we heard about members calling on colleagues for help on cases, or just for some friendly chit-chat; one declared that they “instantly loved the culture among juniors here. That's something you often overlook when applying.” Pupils are encouraged to pop in on tenants with questions and “you're never turned away even by the busiest people.” It's also worth noting that around 40% of juniors are women and the set hasn't lost a member to maternity leave for 25 years.
Every week there are drinks on Friday and chambers tea on Wednesday – a strictly informal affair, so no need to fear for your life if you let slip a request to pass the biscuits. “It's not a traditional place at all, people are very relaxed and just have a laugh,” pupils told us. There's also an annual Christmas party that's traditionally organised by members of two years' call, where the “chilled vibe” isn't just down to the weather.
2TG only offers 12 mini-pupillages a year, but also hosts open days for prospective candidates to get a feel of the place.
2 Temple Gardens
2 Temple Gardens,
- No of silks 14
- No of juniors 47
- No of pupils 2
- Contact [email protected]
- Method of application Pupillage Gateway
- Pupillages (pa) up to three 12-month pupillages
- Award 2019/20£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 2019/20 legal year, mini-pupillages will be offered in the following weeks:
• 2nd – 6th December 2019. The deadline for applications is Friday 25th October 2019
• 16th – 20th March 2020. The deadline is Friday 7th February 2020
Details of mini pupillage dates after March 2020 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, 2019
- Clinical Negligence (Band 3)
- Commercial Dispute Resolution (Band 5)
- Insurance (Band 4)
- Personal Injury (Band 2)
- Product Liability (Band 3)
- Professional Negligence (Band 4)
- Property Damage (Band 1)
- Travel: International Personal Injury (Band 1)