Chambers UK Bar Research 2022: Key Findings
In the last two years, the regional Bar has overtaken London to grow at a faster rate. We also see an impressive 32% growth of practice area rankings per set and emerging new chambers that received their rankings for the first time. Gain further insights and learn about the latest findings from the Chambers UK Bar research 2022.
Growth and diversification of practice at the UK Bar
In what has been another difficult year for many across the legal market, it is remarkable that in the Chambers UK Bar 2022 rankings the story has decisively been one of growth across the sector. The 2022 guide and legal rankings lists more sets and individual barristers, and demonstrates greater market penetration than ever before.
Analysis of our rankings shows consistent growth in the recognition of sets across an ever widening array of practice areas. This year, the number of set rankings across all the various practice areas we cover has grown to 806. The number of individual chambers appearing in the guide has risen to 166.
Particular congratulations go to those chambers who have received a set ranking for the first time. The chambers, 2 Harcourt Buildings, Crucible Chambers and Lamb Buildings are all new entrants to the Crime tables. 9 Stone Buildings has picked up a listing for its Restructuring & Insolvency team, whilst Northampton-based Senate House Chambers has gained recognition as a leading Family set.
At the other end of the scale, the organisations more established in the Chambers UK Bar rankings continue to impress with the depth and breadth of their practice area capability.
Kings Chambers leads the way with 24 practice area rankings, cementing its position as one of the top “full service” barristers’ chambers in the regions. Among the London sets, 39 Essex Chambers’ 20 practice area rankings pips rival Matrix Chambers to the post. Scotland’s leading commercial stable Axiom Advocates secures a place in the leaderboard with an impressive 13 set rankings.
Market trends across the UK Bar
Further investigation into the legal sector hints at a number of interesting trends in our coverage of the market with the first being diversification. A look at the Chambers UK Bar rankings over 10 years shows that the average number of practice area rankings per set has increased by 32% from, 3.5 to 4.9.
No doubt this is due to a number of factors - one being the actual diversification in the market as sets break into new practice areas. Familiar examples include criminal sets developing a fraud or regulatory practice.
Chambers commitment to providing market leading data and analysis for the UK Bar
Equally, increased levels of engagement between sets and Chambers and Partners will have played a role. We continue to receive a broader range of submissions from sets and our researchers are committed in their search for excellence in all corners of the Bar. Most visibly, we have produced brand new tables for Group Litigation, Cryptocurrency and Animal Law to ensure our coverage of the legal market continues to grow and cover emerging areas in the market.
An additional set of data demonstrates that the rate of growth in our individual barrister rankings has markedly increased since 2018 which is another indicator of the continued growth of our market-leading coverage.
Notably, the regional Bar has overtaken London to grow at a faster rate over the past two years. We expect to see such expansion continue in future, as our research allows more barristers practising in these historically overlooked markets to receive the recognition they deserve.
A final chart shows how the rate of growth in barrister rankings differs across key practice areas, all of which are based on our in-depth and comprehensive market research and analysis.
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Is our coverage of the commercial Bar reaching saturation point? Unlikely; rather this data goes to show that the Bar is far from being a static industry, but one which reacts swiftly to adjust its supply of expertise according to the demand of economic trends.
Financial Crime and Employment are among areas which have seen the most rapid growth in barrister rankings. Underlying trends affecting this phenomenon – no doubt exaggerated by the COVID-19 emergency - may include the move to remote working increasing business’ vulnerability to fraud, or the precarious nature of ‘gig economy’ employment.
The wider effects of the pandemic on many areas of law and those involved in the legal market remain to be seen. Our research will continue to keep abreast of these developments, and we will strive to offer instructing solicitors the most complete coverage of the UK Bar for many years to come.
We would like to thank everyone at the Bar and in the wider legal profession who has assisted with our research this year. Congratulations to all barristers and sets appearing in the Chambers UK Bar 2022 legal rankings.