Media Report: The brave new world of online chambers










As the digital revolution continues unabated, it perhaps comes as no surprise that one of the great bastions of British legal tradition – that of the barristers’ chambers – has also gone virtual. The Barrister Group (TBG), an online set of barristers’ chambers which owns and operates the Clerksroom Direct and Clerksroom brands, states on its website that it provides “a newer, more efficient model of working for barristers, through our innovative digital platform that facilitates their interactions with solicitors and the public”.

It’s an innovative approach that seems to be working well: TBG recently announced that it has received private equity backing from LDC, part of Lloyds Banking Group, to the tune of an estimated £10m. TBG is the first online chambers of its kind to land such a sizeable outside investment, and plans to use the cash to revolutionise the profession, as CEO Stephen Ward makes clear in the firm’s own press release: “We are building the Bar of the 21st century and LDC’s experience of building tech-enabled services companies will help us take the next step in making that happen.”

In a business model already familiar from consultancy-based law firms, Clerksroom and Clerksroom Direct offer their barristers greater flexibility through innovative technology that allows them to work remotely without having to be tied to bricks-and-mortar chambers. TBG already has around 240 barristers working for it, including eight King’s Council, but plans to expand this number to 500 in the next three to five years, with a long-term ambition of 1,000 barristers working under its aegis.

Whilst it won’t be for everyone, there’s something inherently attractive to me about these kinds of maverick disruptor businesses that challenge established tradition. And I’m just as interested to see how chambers react. Watch this space.