Falcon Chambers - True Picture

Covering every corner of property law, pupils flock to Falcon to spread their wings.

Falcon Chambers pupillage review 2024

The Chambers

When the Tate Modern put in its viewing gallery, little did it know it was going to be such a nuisance. For nuisance was precisely what the owners of four flats in the Neo Bankside development claimed was occurring, arguing that the Tate’s gallery allowed its visitors, illegally, to look into their homes. Soaring high above it all was Falcon Chambers, the UK’s premier real estate litigation set, which swooped down to defend the Tate. According to senior clerk John Stannard, Falcon focuses on six core property-related areas: commercial property, residential property, agriculture, natural resources, development and telecoms. For pupils and juniors who realised that a specialism in property law was what they were interested in, “Falcon was the obvious choice. It’s the leading set in this field.” Case in point, Falcon is the only set to have been awarded a top-tier ranking for this work by Chambers UK Bar. It’s also considered to be cream of the crop for agriculture and rural affairs, and has added a feather to its cap for telecommunications.

TOP READ: Property law: the view from Falcon

Where rural affairs are concerned, members of the set do a wide range of work related to estates. Caroline Shea KC, for example, represented the claimant against defendants who illegally started construction on a piece of land neighbouring the client’s rural estate. Its telecommunications work also has a real-estate flavour, with Stephanie Tozer KC representing EE in a dispute related to a mast site on private land used for military training. Stannard explained that the set doesn’t rely on London-based clients: “Our clients are spread across the country, ranging from Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Cardiff, the West Country and East Anglia."

In addition to its practice areas, Falcon’s culture was another selling point: “Everyone is so friendly and the atmosphere is fairly casual.” So, ahem, no ruffled feathers, then. Jokes aside, senior clerk Jonathan Stannard says, “I’ve worked at other sets and this is by far most enjoyable place I ever worked. Everyone is incredibly supportive and gets on fantastically well.” Stannard explained that a lot of work throughout the past couple of years has been COVID-related, with rent arrears matters at the forefront: “We are the only chambers that is an approved arbitration body arbitrators to deal with COVID rent arrears arbitration,” he added. With a recession on the horizon and massive cost of living increases likely to have a serious impact on individuals and businesses, expect the set’s rent arrears arbitration panel to be busy over the next few years.

The Pupillage Experience

Pupils sit with four supervisors during pupillage, rotating every three months: “I’ve been exposed to the full range of work that Falcon does, which is really helpful.” According to head of the pupillage committee Adam Rosenthal KC, serendipity rather than design is the reason. “Most supervisors don’t just specialise in one area of property-related law,” he explains. “Most of us, from the very junior to the most senior, deal with  all property issues, so it won't be difficult for pupils to get a broad exposure to all areas.”

With a broad range of work available, pupils work more on live cases than archived matters. Pupils we spoke to had done everything from commercial landlord and tenant work, to work that had a more public law flavour. Like? “Like acting for government departments, which was really interesting.” Other areas included mortgage matters and a decent amount of insolvency work which it touches on property, and trusts and equity work. Tasks include researching case law drafting skeletons arguments alongside their supervisors: “Essentially you shadow your supervisor so whatever’s in their diary you do it with them,” a pupil explained. “We will work on it in parallel then once it’s done the supervisor will give you feedback and I can see what they’ve done, which is great.”

“The difference between sixes is not as stark as might be at sets where you’re on your feet from day one of your second six.”

As fledgling barristers move into their second six, they don’t immediately fly the nest. As one pupil put it, “the difference between sixes is not as stark as might be at sets where you’re on your feet from day one of your second six. The main difference is that the pace quickens as you get more used to doing things.” Juniors explained that as you progress, the “biggest difference is the quantity of work. As a pupil you’re usually only on one case at a time and there’s no real time pressure. I was often told as a pupil to take as long as I needed on a piece of work, with a few exceptions obviously.” Once you’re a tenant, expect to have “multiple cases floating around at same time.”

As far as assessments go, Rosenthal says pupils “have very few formal tests. We put a lot of weight on the view of supervisors who spend the most time with our pupils.” There are, however, “a couple of advocacy exercises, where the emphasis is more on training. We want our pupils to enjoy pupillage,” Rosenthal says. In June of each year, the set as a whole makes the tenancy decision based on reports by the pupillage committee.

The Application Process

Rosenthal notes that Falcon is now part of Pupillage Gateway. The change, he thinks, "means it’s easier for applicants to apply to the sets they want to apply to which makes for a fairer system." The committee sifts through the applications before inviting successful candidates in for a 20-minute interview with three members. Candidates are given time to consider a judgment which the panel then questions them on. “After that, they asked me some questions about my interest in the Bar, especially the Property Bar,” explained an interviewee. The aim, confirms Rosenthal, “is to gain a better understanding of a candidate’s desire to practise in our field.”

Those that make it through the first round are invited to a second-round interview, which is around 40 minutes long and in front of a panel of five members of chambers. This is “more in depth,” says Rosenthal, “with a greater emphasis on analytical questions.” Pupils are again given time to look at a set of facts and a fictitious statute, then answer questions on the application of said statute: “You pretend you’ve been instructed in a matter, so you outline what your arguments would be.”

As with the first interview, says Rosenthal, “we’re not looking for legal knowledge, just the ability to analyse and express views, for example on the meaning of an ambiguous clause in an agreement, or to present one or the other side of an argument (not necessarily on a legal topic.)" The set is cognisant of the fact that “some people have spent many years doing legal study, while others are only a couple months into the GDL.”


Birds of a feather… Members flock together “to eat lunch in the library,” a pupil told us. “We don’t usually talk about law.”

Falcon Chambers

Falcon Court,
Website www.falcon-chambers.com

Chambers profile

Falcon Chambers is recognised by the legal directories, solicitors and clients as the leading property chambers. Many of the major practitioner texts relating to property law are written by our members. We place a lot of importance on being a friendly, closely integrated group of colleagues. Many former members of chambers have become judges (including a former President of the Supreme Court, and judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal).

Type of work undertaken

Members of chambers are heavily involved in litigation in the real property, landlord and tenant and property-related fields, including cases involving insolvency, trusts, banking, revenue, professional negligence, environmental and treasury work. We are involved in both contentious and non-contentious work. Although the subject matter of our work is real property, the nature of the issues we deal with from case to case varies hugely and covers a broad spectrum of legal subject matter.

Pupil profile

Applications are welcome from all who have or expect to achieve a 2:1 or first in their degree, including students who have not yet completed a first degree, or non-law students who have not yet completed a GDL. The successful applicant will absorb complex information and identify essential points and practical solutions quickly; communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively, both orally and in writing; and remain calm, objective and confident while working under pressure.


Our current policy is to offer up to two pupillages each year, each of which is for 12 months. Pupils are allocated to a different pupil supervisor every three months in order to see a range of work and practices. We aim to give our pupils a good grounding in advocacy, in addition to the courses offered by the Inns, by providing structured advocacy training throughout the year. We encourage pupils to involve themselves in the day-to-day life of Chambers and we endeavour to provide a welcoming and friendly environment in which to develop the skills required for practice at the Bar.

Few of our applicants will have studied our speciality in any depth, and therefore we provide an intensive course in landlord and tenant law at Falcon Chambers, usually held in the last week of September.

Chambers accepts applications through Pupillage Gateway. Details of the application timetable for spring 20224 are available on the Gateway website. Our interview dates are yet to be confirmed but will be between March and mid-April 2024 (first and second round).


Our mini-pupillages are not assessed and there is no requirement that you come to Chambers on a mini-pupillage before you apply for a pupillage. We do, however, encourage interested students to visit us for a few days to experience life at Falcon Chambers. We find that those who do so invariably apply to us for pupillage. The programme lasts for three days (usually Tuesday to Thursday), during which time we try to ensure that you will spend some time in court, sit in on a conference with clients and also sample some paperwork. We hold three mini-pupillage sessions each year. Full details along with dates, when to apply and the application form are all available on our website.


Our pupillage award is £75,000 per pupil (for those starting in October 2024), of which up to £24,000 is available for draw-down during the year preceding pupillage. In their second six months, pupils can expect to earn some additional income from their own work, which is in addition to the pupillage award.

Successful pupils who become junior tenants are usually fully employed doing their own work shortly after being taken on.

Diversity, inclusion and wellbeing
Chambers’ Equality & Diversity and Wellbeing committees are well-established and take the lead in mainstreaming best practice in diversity, inclusion and wellbeing across all aspects of Chambers life. Wellbeing training has recently involved a series of external-led seminars on mental health best practice, effective communication and constructive feedback. All members of Chambers were recently offered Bar Council-approved advanced training on how to avoid and deal with allegations of discrimination or harassment, and take-up was very high. Members of Chambers involved in recruitment also undergo advanced E&D training prior to joining the committee.

On a more informal note, we operate an internal mentoring scheme, providing opportunities for mentoring at and between all levels of seniority (KC, junior, pupil). During the Covid lockdown period, Chambers produced a couple of short videos for external audiences highlighting Chambers’ support for Pride month and Mental Health Awareness Week 2020.

The Recruitment committee, meanwhile, pursues its own initiatives and is committed to attracting pupillage applications from talented students irrespective of background. For instance, Chambers has hosted an open evening which was specifically targeted at GDL students from widening participation backgrounds or on part-time or distance-learning GDL programmes. Chambers was also one of the first sets (if not the first set) to offer a ‘virtual mini-pupillage’ Zoominar for prospective applicants during the lock-down period, in recognition of the difficulties faced by prospective applicants in securing mini-pupillages at this time (particularly applicants from underrepresented groups). The take-up in both instances was enthusiastic. Falcon Chambers also joins with a group of other sets in a mentoring scheme aimed at encouraging under-represented groups at the Bar to consider becoming barristers, with an aim of helping to diversifying the intake to the Bar.

This Firm's Rankings in
UK Bar, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Agriculture & Rural Affairs (Band 1)
    • Real Estate Litigation (Band 1)
    • Telecommunications (Band 2)