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Client Service at the Bar 2023

Discover the sets commended for providing exceptional client service, as researched by the Chambers UK Bar team. 

Published on 18 October 2022
Written by Cavan Ferguson
Cavan Ferguson

No5 Barristers’ Chambers

CEO and Director of Clerking: Tony McDaid 

“The clerks are always commercial in their approach. They are sensitive on fees and willing to have sensible conversations. Abdul Hafeez is always great to deal with.”

“One of the reasons we use them is because of the clerking. Danny Griffiths and Jordan Zaza in particular. We get a good clerking level.”

“Will Theaker in particular is an excellent clerk, and the clerks are always helpful, responsive and polite.”

“James Wackett is very responsive, and very quickly able to source counsel at the appropriate level. He is focused on building and maintaining strong relationships.”

“The clerks at No5 Barristers’ Chambers are incredibly friendly and attentive. They make you feel like you are their sole or most important client.”

“Each goes above and beyond to provide a wonderful supportive service to client and counsel. They are pro-active, will ensure papers are received in good time and that there is always an excellent line of communication between counsel and client.”

“We have an excellent working relationship with the clerking team principally as a result of their proactive approach to their role.” 

View No5 Barristers Chambers’ profile here.

3PB Barristers

Chambers Directors: Mark Heath, Russell Porter and Stuart Pringle 

“The clerks are friendly and helpful. They will do their best to source counsel for last minute hearings and communicate well over both email and telephone.”

“Sarah Jenking is excellent, very responsive, on top of her work and knowledgeable. Also, Robert Leonard is pragmatic and willing to go the extra mile to help.”

“The clerks are excellent, always eager to help and will go out of their way to assist and support.”

“The friendliest bunch of clerks around.”

“Russell Porter has always been approachable to discuss business matters with us to make sure that we are happy with the services we have received.”

“Lee Giles is the best clerk I have dealt with; on the ball and has good relationships with solicitors.”

“The clerks team is second to none, with Tom Cox a particular strength.” 

View 3PB Barristers’ profile here.

Doughty Street Chambers

Senior Practice Managers: Sian Wilkins and Matthew Butchard 

“The clerks are very easy to communicate with, are helpful and organised.”

“The clerks are straightforward, welcoming and feels really modern. They set standards for how chambers should approach client service.”

“Grace Walton is an excellent clerk who is always quick to respond and very helpful.”

“Doughty Street Chambers clerks are some of the friendliest.”

“The clerks are on top of the logistics and always available to assist.”

“Emily Norman is brilliant – down to earth and approachable, whilst being extremely personable.”

“The clerks are brilliant, always willing to go the extra mile to help, even at short notice.”

“The understanding of our client needs from the clerks is great. They are able to identify suitable Counsel and come back promptly to any questions we have.”

“Matthew Buchard is always available to discuss matters and has the ability to resolve issues rapidly, ensuring the client’s interests are protected at all times.” 

Doughty Street Chambers supports clients through virtual conferencing, software and technical support for building and indexing court documents, webinars and case clinics as well as dedicated helplines.  

View Doughty Street's profile here.

Wilberforce Chambers

Practice Director: Nicholas Luckman 

“The clerks will always assist with finding a solution to requirements where possible.”

“The clerks at Wilberforce provide a first-class service.”

“Antonia Matthew in particular, is exceptional. She is efficient, proactive, responsive and a pleasure to work with.”

“The clerks build up great relationships.”

“Grace Mahoney and Danny Smillie are both prompt, efficient and user friendly.”

“The clerks were always on hand and offered continued support to us over the course of the matter. They are solutions-focused, they are a pleasure to work with.”

“Commercial, straightforward and efficient clerking from an exceptionally capable team.”

“They will bend over backwards to respond promptly, speed things up and have honest conversations.”

“Top notch – I will go to them for recommendations and I trust their judgement. They understand the firm and the mix of work we do and will always find the right person for the job at the right price too.” 

View Wilberforce Chambers’ profile here.

Pump Court Chambers

Senior Clerk: Tony Atkins 

“The clerks are courteous and extremely helpful.”

“Tony Atkins is a fantastic head clerk; he runs a great team.” “The communication from the clerks is prompt and reliable.”

“A strong and responsive clerking team who will often go the extra mile to help with a request.”

“I value the clerks always being reliable, they are always available by phone and email, and always do their best to find cover or availability.”

“Jonathan Cue and Dean Cunniff are real stars and always obliging.”

“The clerks are excellent, always ready to work with you and find a solution. Friendly and professional, they are a delight to work with.”

“The clerking is very smooth running – absolutely seamless.” 

Pump Court Chambers is accredited with the ISO 2015 quality standard. The chambers produces a podcast and webinar series on topical Family issues. The set is also committed to carrying out pro bono work, and is a member of Pro Bono Connect, an organisation that links members of the Bar and solicitors to provide help for clients.   

View Pump Court Chambers’ profile here.

Blackstone Chambers

Senior clerk: Gary Oliver 

The “fantastic” Gary Oliver brings four decades of clerking experience to his role at the helm of Blackstone Chambers’ client service offering.

According to clients he is “a superb clerk who runs a really slick operation.” Instructing solicitors state:

“The clerking team is one of Blackstone’s real trump cards – they are terrific.”

“I find the clerks to be in a league of their own compared to other chambers.”

“It’s the responsiveness and engagement of the clerks which often jolts this set to the top of the list when seeking to engage counsel.” 

Members of the clerking team received the following comments from their clients: “Derek Sutton has been an excellent facilitator in often challenging circumstances. He’s pragmatic, flexible and responsive and we really appreciated that.”

“Adam Sloane is the most easy-to-use, available and responsive clerk in the world. He is phenomenal – the best clerk I know.”

“Adam Sloane is one of the best clerks I have come across. He is so responsive and helpful, and completely gets where I am coming from.”

“If Adam hadn’t been so well connected and pro-active we could have had a disaster on our hands.”

“Billy Brian in particular is a joy to work with. He is very friendly, and is happy to be commercial on rates where appropriate.”

“Danny Compton is a standout.”

“Mark Armstrong should be particularly commended for his responsiveness and the level of service he provides.” “

I have dealt with Adam Fuschillo on numerous occasions and he is both responsive and very able. He is typical of the (very high) quality of the clerks at Blackstone.”

“Sophie Floydd has been very helpful on fees and coming back to me with follow-ups.” 

View Blackstone Chambers’ profile here.

Gatehouse Chambers

Practice Director: James Duncan-Harthill 

Clients have been thoroughly impressed with Gatehouse Chambers’ clerking service, led by James Duncan-Harthill. One interviewee described the team as “the best in the business.”

Other sources commented: “I am a big fan of James Duncan-Harthill”; “he and Patrick Sarson are the best clerks I’ve ever come across. They’re helpful and responsive, and are my go-to people.”

“James Duncan-Harthill, Patrick Sarson and Claire Gallacher are very easy to work with. They work flexibly and understand that they are contributing to our services rather than adding more fees. It’s a more modern way of working.”

“I have a very good relationship with Patrick and Claire. They are always on hand to assist. They are personable and understand our difficulties, and therefore make for an excellent point of contact for the set.”

“Adam Blades was excellent. He gave us a quick response at a difficult time of the year.”

“Amy McClean is very responsive and personable.” 

Gatehouse Chambers has invested in additional client-focused initiatives such as a Key Account Management programme and Quality Assurance committee. The set also produces ‘Brews’ as fora to disseminate barristers’ practice area expertise amongst its clients.

A solicitor says: “I attend many of the Gatehouse Chambers Brews and other training talks which I find very helpful. Overall I find Gatehouse to be a very friendly and approachable chambers, and this sets them apart.” 

View Gatehouse Chambers’ profile here.

St John’s Buildings

Chief executive: Chris Ronan 

St John’s Buildings is clerked from its four regional bases in Manchester, Liverpool, Chester and Sheffield. Individuals from all four teams received excellent client feedback in this year’s research.  

“The Manchester clerks are excellent, particularly the senior clerks Chris Shaw, Rob Lang and Martin Craggs. They take time to consider precisely what is required, communicate effectively with me and deliver a superb service - whether it be in relation to providing documents urgently or managing counsel’s diary to attend a hearing, JSM or conference.”

“Martin Craggs and Chris Shaw will always go the extra mile to assist.”

“Rob Lang and Gemma Eachus are excellent – they’re always quick to respond and reflect so well on the set.”

“Chris Jones is reactive, reliable and great with clients.”

“Paul Lafferty is brilliant. Talk about being proactive when briefs are prepared and bills are paid. He's the right or left arm of those barristers. He's probably the best clerk in the country.”

“Ryan Barker always goes above and beyond and makes himself available if there are any issues.”

“Dan Johnson is friendly, approachable and responsive, and always goes the extra mile to assist where he can.”

“Mark Heald has been very helpful and very understanding.” 

“Gail Whelan and David Harrald in Liverpool are always extremely helpful and aware of the level of experience required for each case. I particularly like the ease with which it is possible to contact them directly.” 

“The clerks in Sheffield are excellent. I have had many situations when I have needed a barrister on an urgent case and the clerks will try their hardest to find me someone.”

“Curtis Russell is the politest person I have ever had any dealings with and is simply lovely. Jayne Harper is professional, reliable and proactive, and is understanding when we contact chambers in a panic. Suzanne Heron cannot do enough to help, and is incredibly proactive in finding counsel to fill any availability whilst keeping you in the loop.” 

“Mark Robinson in Chester is always extremely efficient, approachable and helpful.” 

View St John’s Buildings’ profile here.

39 Essex Chambers

Chief executive and director of clerking: Lindsay Scott 

39 Essex Chambers’ clerking teams are organised along practice area lines, with specialists in public, planning, civil liability and commercial law, under the direction of Lindsay Scott and Alastair Davidson.

Alongside the clerking function, the set places an emphasis on practice area resources including webinars, podcasts and videos, notably its ‘At Home, around the World’ series. Clients say: “Sheraton Doyle is friendly, efficient and responsive when we are looking to engage barristers.”

“Peter Campbell is always reaching out to improve their services.” “Oscar Redif is always a pleasure to deal with.”

“Andrew Poyser makes everything run seamlessly.” “Andy is the best clerk I have worked with. He knows his barristers well and when a recommendation is needed he is always spot on.”

“We enjoy working with Elliott Hurrell, who is always available and responsive.”

“Ben Sundborg and Tom Gibbons are particularly friendly and approachable.”

“Tom always goes above and beyond.”

“Mark Winrow is part of the reason I instruct 39 Essex so much. His responses are faster than those of any other chambers, which is amazing; I always get a response in under an hour.”

“I trust the clerks so much – they come back to me with really good names.”

“They’re always available and helpful regarding listing, conferences and fees.” 

View 39 Essex Chambers’ profile here.

Kings Chambers

Chambers director: Debra Andrés 

Kings Chambers’ practice area-specialist clerking teams were roundly praised by our interviewees this year. Comments include:

“The clerks are highly proactive in dealing with fees. I know that commerciality – rather than tedious clock-watching – is the watchword at Kings.”

“Gary Young in particular is fantastic” and “always goes the extra mile to assist.”

“Gary is really trustworthy – if he says someone can do it, they will do it.” “For me Harry Young is the standout clerk – he is extremely friendly and professional, and very responsive.”

“Avais Saleem has been superb”; “Avais is particularly on the ball.”

“Stephen Loxton is a class act,” and “a real expert at building long-term relationships.”

“Paul Clarke will always come back to me the same day, and usually within a matter of a couple of hours. He is clear and a pleasure to deal with.”

“Gary Smith has been particularly good. He’s efficient, friendly and easy to deal with.” “Gary Smith is very approachable and knowledgeable, and will put out all the stops when needed.”

“Mark Ronson and his team go out of their way to ensure you get the counsel you want, when you want them. If your first choice of counsel is not available, they work hard to make sure you get someone who suits your brief.”

“I always know that I am in the safest possible hands with the clerks. Jake Brooke regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty for me. He is very much a gentleman's gentleman - a total professional, who brings commitment and enthusiasm as well as no small measure of discretion.” 

View Kings Chambers’ profile here.

Outer Temple Chambers

Practice Directors: Sam Carter, Nicholas Levett, Matt Sale and Paul Barton. 

“The clerking at Outer Temple Chambers is outstanding. The clerks are commercial and collegiate and go above and beyond.”

“Practice director Nicholas Levett is extremely responsive. He goes out of his way to provide assistance.”

“Senior practice manager Mark Gardner brings the human touch to his work that makes him invaluable to instructing solicitors. He is never afraid to pick up the phone to solve a problem quickly.”

“The clerks are faultless. They always respond promptly and are unfailingly helpful.” “They have a good, modern clerking arrangement in chambers.”

“The clerking team at Outer Temple are highly efficient and show great aptitude in managing the diaries and commitments of a busy set of barristers. They have also collaborated proactively to set up knowledge sharing sessions and technical discussions between teams.”

“Paul Barton remains one of the best clerks in the business.”

“The clerks at Outer Temple provide an outstanding service and make work on the solicitor side of practice significantly easier. They are friendly, quick to respond, and work hard to find solutions to any issues.”  

The set regularly releases webinars and blog posts to provide updates to clients and discuss case studies and market trends. 

View Outer Temple Chambers’ profile here.

4 New Square

CEO and Senior Clerk: Lizzy Stewart 

“4 New Square was one of the first sets that modernised and became more service focused. They are very forward-thinking, very well organized and efficient. They are good on the training front, too.”

“The clerks at 4 New Square respond to queries promptly and pay close attention to detail. They are friendly and helpful.”

“The level of responsiveness from their clerks is excellent. They really get to know their clients and make an effort to keep in touch.”

“Senior clerk and CEO Lizzy Stewart runs a well-oiled machine.”

“Deputy senior clerk Dennis Peck is very organised, responsive and helpful.”

“Jack Crowhurst and Tom Woolsey are very responsive, efficient and accommodating.”  

4 New Square frequently publishes articles, releases podcast episodes and provides information regarding upcoming events. 

View 4 New Square Chambers’ profile here.

Garden Court Chambers

Director of Clerking: Colin Cook 

“The clerks at Garden Court Chambers are extremely responsive and a pleasure to deal with. They go the extra mile to identify appropriate counsel.”

“The clerks at Garden Court cannot be faulted. They are very responsive, efficient, and skilled.”

“Deputy director of clerking Lisa O'Leary is quick to respond, always finds someone to assist at short notice and quickly deals with all enquiries.”

“The clerks are hard-working and do an amazing job. They are very user friendly. ,they help accommodate solicitors’ requests and effectively manage cases.”

“The clerks are always efficient, helpful and attentive.”

“They rise to the challenge.” “Tim Hempsted is consistently responsive and helpful.”  

Barristers at Garden Court regularly contribute to the set’s social welfare pages, providing updates on policy and case law. 

View Garden Court Chambers’ profile here.

1 Crown Office Row

Senior Clerk: Matthew Phipps 

“The clerks at 1 Crown Office Row are exceptionally helpful and very responsive. They go out of their way to help.”

“John Mclaren is a true diamond. There isn't anything he won't do to help. Andrew Tull and senior clerk Matthew Phipps are fantastic.”

“1 Crown Office Row are in a league of their own. They provide exemplary service.”

“The skill of the clerks at 1 Crown Office Row is unsurpassed in being able to suggest a selection of counsel for the important factors pertaining to a case. They are exceptional. Most importantly, they are all responsive.”

“The clerks work their hardest to get the best options for clients.” “The clerking at 1 Crown Office Row is of a high standard.”  

The set’s popular podcast series ‘Law Pod UK’ covers developments across civil and public law in the UK. 

View 1 Crown Office Row’s profile here.

Crown Office Chambers

Senior Managing Clerk: Andy Flanagan 

“Crown Office Chambers is an excellent set. The clerks are very supportive, organised, and responsive.”

“Steve Purse is responsive and commercially minded.”

“Andy Flanagan is a first-rate clerk.”

“Toby Sparrow is fantastic. He is very proactive and always very practical in terms of providing training. Toby is always asking how chambers can support its clients.”

“Greg Frewin is simply superb. He is first class and amazing at his job. Nothing is too much trouble for him, and he always goes the extra mile.”

“Sam Barrett never fails to respond quickly and work his magic with the diary.”

“James Wilkinson is a highly skilled clerk who is able to work collaboratively in order to ensure clients’ work is dealt with expeditiously.”  

The team offers a host of webinars in the fields of personal injury, clinical negligence, construction, criminal regulatory and insurance. 

View Crown Office’s Chambers’ profile here.

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