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Client Service at the Bar 2022

Discover which sets are particularly commended for their provision of quality client service, as researched by the Chambers UK Bar team.

Published on 23 November 2021
Written by Eleanor Crundwell
Eleanor Crundwell

Selborne Chambers

Senior Clerks: Paul Bunting and Darren Madle.

"The clerking at Selborne Chambers is first class, and Darren Madle and Paul Bunting are a standout pair." "The clerks are all absolutely excellent. They are always responsive and easy to deal with, and they handle queries very swiftly - a real pleasure to deal with." "The clerks are very approachable and friendly. They are problem solvers." "The clerking service is excellent and, in particular, senior clerk Paul Bunting is very knowledgeable, responsive and commercial." "They are extremely rapid with responses for quotes and they are really good with flexibility. They make arrangements to give the best service." "The clerks are really good and will go the extra mile to help solicitors out when they are in a sticky situation. I know that I can rely on both the clerks and counsel there. The set is also very good at sorting costs estimates for pieces of work out in advance, which makes instructing the barristers a lot easier." "The clerking is simply excellent. I usually deal with first junior clerk Oliver Ventura and I cannot fault him. He is always pleasant, happy to be reasonable on fees and always goes the extra mile." "Selborne is an extremely approachable set and the clerking team really stands out. They have a friendly approach and get to know you, which is really important."

Francis Taylor Building

Senior Clerk: Paul Coveney
Deputy Senior Clerk: James Kemp
Principal Clerks: Andrew Briton, Harry Killick

"Francis Taylor Building is a very strong chambers, and the clerks should get a special mention as they facilitate that." "The clerking team is very responsive, approachable and personable." "Paul Coveney, the senior clerk, is an excellent clerk and really makes the effort to know the business." "The clerks are absolutely superb and very quick to get back to you." "The clerks are good at finding availability quickly in very difficult circumstances." "The clerks are determined to make things work for their clients." "Paul Coveney, Andrew Briton and Harry Killick are very easy to deal with, efficient and easy to reach." "The team is very agile and very commercial in terms of their approach and you can discuss things based on client needs." "Paul Coveney is streets ahead of other clerks; he understands the work and is strategic in his thinking." "Francis Taylor Building should be singled out for praise for its rolling programme of webinars during the COVID-19 lockdown. They have all been excellent in terms of content and accessibility (recordings are made available on YouTube for those unable to join the sessions live)." "The Francis Taylor Building seminars have been really helpful during lockdown in keeping us up to date."

The set runs a well-received programme of webinars for its clients. Paul Coveney and his colleagues have steered the set through the recent challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring facilities are available for remote hearings and organising a programme of webinars.

Gatehouse Chambers

Chief Executive: Amanda Illing

"Gatehouse Chambers has always been at the forefront of innovation and commerciality at the Bar. It has excellent clerking and overall business administration and support." "The clerks are very friendly, happy to negotiate on fees and good at dealing with tight time frames and getting the right counsel." "It’s a fantastic, down-to-earth set. The clerks are always available and willing to help." "They are quick to respond and pick up the phone and it's a modern, forward-thinking set." "The clerking is very good, especially practice manager Patrick Sarson who is very responsive, very helpful and very tactful." "Difficult to fault - very prompt and efficient and you don't have to chase them." "The practice managers are great. Paul Nuttall is particularly good: he's very responsive, always good at recommending people." "The clerks have always been down to earth and recognise the importance of building relationships." "It is a phenomenal team. Practice managers Patrick Sarson and Claire Gallacher are an asset to the chambers. They are very friendly, helpful and always happy to assist."

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Gatehouse Chambers has provided its clients with a wealth of online content, including webinars and the Gatehouse #Brew discussions – 30-minute informal sessions in which a topical issue is discussed by the barristers.

Temple Garden Chambers

Senior Clerk: Dean Norton

"They are an excellent clerking team who are always on the front foot and quick to respond." "Temple Garden Chambers has carved out a special place in terms of ease of use of the Bar for costs disputes. It has several very knowledgeable barristers and provides great newsletters and online seminars. Both counsel and clerks are quick at responding to and resolving any issues that arise." "The set has very well-organised clerks from whom you get a very good service and a rapid response." "If there is a situation when my chosen counsel cannot be available they actively seek a good alternative and they work with the instructed counsel to handle the brief. They are really helpful and effective and keep you up to date about availability and any changes. They will contact you to let you know things are going ahead." "Very approachable, helpful and happy to go the extra mile." "Everyone on the team at Temple Garden Chambers is very responsive and able to assist with every query. They are knowledgeable and reliable." "Always flexible, accommodating and very prompt - they run a very slick operation."

Alongside clerking duties, the management team at Temple Garden Chambers coordinates the production of newsletters and webinars covering legal topics or wider issues such as the effect of the pandemic on legal practice.

The 36 Group

Commercial Practice Manager: Steven Newbery

Criminal Practice Manager: Michelle Simpson

Family Practice Manager: Danny Chapman

Senior Clerk – Public & Human Rights: Everton Wedderburn

Director of Clerking (36 Stone): Paul Martenstyn

"The clerks at The 36 Group are efficient, accommodating and will bend over backwards for you." "Nothing is too much trouble for the clerks; they will go out of their way to help find solutions." "The clerks are very responsive and proactive." "The clerks are very amenable and able to give urgent help. They recognised what we needed and delivered." "The clerks are exceptionally good and are always willing to help and accommodate us." "Senior family clerk Danny Chapman and his team go above and beyond in terms of their service."

The 36 Group is noted for having taken a proactive approach to the pandemic, with one of its barristers, Hannah Jones, having been the founding and only barrister member of ‘Family Law in Lockdown’, an initiative started in response to Covid-19.

Radcliffe Chambers

Senior Clerks: Keith Nagle, John Clark
Chief Executive: Fiona Fitzgerald
Clerks: Lee Wright, Justin Allen, Vince Carter, Bradley Edwards, George Rushton, Charles Edwards

"The senior clerks at Radcliffe Chambers are both excellent - they are very responsive, polite, approachable and pragmatic." "The clerks are really easy to get on with; they are responsive, accommodating, and commercial in the way they think." "The clerks are very good and responsive. Justin Allen in particular is very good." "It's a good clerking service and they get you the right people and understand the barristers' capacity." "The quality of the service and speed of responses, plus the personableness of the people, are great." "The clerks are helpful, get the job done and never have to be chased." "Radcliffe Chambers is very cost-conscious and prepared to stick to a budget that works for our clients." "The clerks at Radcliffe are really good. The deputy senior clerk Lee Wright is very responsive, quick and reliable. He is everything you would want in a clerk and keeps us up to date on budget."

Radcliffe Chambers has in recent months focused on disseminating its significant in-house expertise throughout the legal profession, primarily through a series of webinars which are available on demand and free of charge.

Crown Office Chambers

Senior Managing Clerk: Andy Flanagan

Senior Team Clerks: Steve Purse, Rob Cowup, James Wilkinson, Toby Sparrow

Arbitrator, Mediator Adjudicator’s Clerk: Nick Hamilton

"The clerking service at Crown Office Chambers is top notch, and the clerks are always able to assist and make appropriate arrangements." "The clerks will do all they can to accommodate our requests for sometimes urgent assistance and provide a very good service." "The team is responsive, quick and helpful - nothing slips through the cracks." "I have always had an excellent experience of working with chambers and the clerks, especially construction clerk Christopher Kent and senior construction clerk Rob Cowup. Clients are often cost-sensitive, and the clerks are brilliant at providing accurate and sensible fee estimates that are always met. They understand the specialist nature of construction and engineering law and have the ability to pair clients and cases with the right counsel in chambers." "The criminal and regulatory clerk, Toby Sparrow, is fantastic. He is very much on the ball, always comes back to you very quickly and will help find a solution. He's also very personable, down to earth and someone you are able to connect with very easily. He is a fantastic all-rounder." "The clerks take an efficient, friendly and flexible approach and never fail to deliver an excellent service." "James Wilkinson, the senior personal injury clerk, is excellent. He is very responsive, helpful and accessible - everything you would want in a clerk." "I can trust that Steve Purse will suggest someone to suit the client and the case. All the clerks at Crown Office Chambers really know what they're doing." "The clerks are very responsive, open and transparent about turnaround times." "Senior clerk Andy Flanagan is responsive and provides the right counsel for the job."

Crown Office Chambers regularly produces webinars, articles and Q&A sessions for instructing solicitors. The set offers surgeries for its insurer clients and takes a flexible approach when providing advice to their panel firms. The chambers' series of webinars has played a central role in its commitment to supporting its clients remotely.

Quadrant Chambers

Chief Operating Officer: Peter Blair

Senior Clerks: Gary Ventura, Simon Slattery

"The clerks really know the industry and they understand if it is going into a tough cycle. They never compromise on the overall quality of personnel on offer." "The Quadrant Chambers clerks are friendly, responsive, reasonable and easy to deal with." "Joint senior clerk Simon Slattery is responsive and professional and very easy to work with." "The clerks always try and help - they bend over backwards." "The clerks give a really good personal service. They are really flexible and accommodating." "If I have a problem, senior clerk Gary Ventura fixes it."  "The clerks are prompt, commercial and understanding." "Gary Ventura is exceptional. He is a great agent, matching like with like." "Quadrant Chambers is a first-class, client-led and go-to chambers."

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the set produced several webinars and hosted a series of livestreamed discussion programmes – Quadcast – which proved hugely popular amongst instructing solicitors.

Hailsham Chambers

Senior Clerk: Stephen Smith

"The clerks at Hailsham Chambers, led by the highly respected Stephen Smith, are helpful and polite. You always receive clear terms upon instruction and clear correspondence throughout the life of a case." "The clerking team is phenomenal - Hailsham is a very business-minded set and they are attuned to the budgetary requirements of clients." "The clerks are very easy to deal with and do anything they can to help. They are very efficient and offer a fantastic service." "The clerks are all excellent; senior clerk Stephen Smith is particularly commercial and helpful." "The clerks are always very good. We deal mostly with Michael Kilbey, who is responsive and friendly." "Everyone at Hailsham Chambers, from the receptionist to the QCs, is extremely nice and very helpful, and the chambers as a whole is just a pleasure to deal with."

Hailsham Chambers can boast a resilient client service and administrative function; prior investment in IT facilities ensured Hailsham was well placed to meet the challenges of remote working in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Demonstrating its commitment to client service the set supported its clients during COVID by instituting a series of monthly informal online gatherings which provided an opportunity for clients and contacts to pose questions to a panel of Hailsham experts. In addition, the set continues to provide in-house costs training for a range of clients throughout the year.

7 King’s Bench Walk

Senior Clerks: Greg Leyden
Joint Deputy Senior Clerks: Eddie Johns, Gary Rose
Clerks: Joe Clayton, Declan Gray

"The clerks at 7 King’s Bench Walk are absolutely brilliant. You can always pick up the phone to them and they bend over backwards to help you." "The clerks are knowledgeable, adaptable and very engaging. They are exactly what you want in a clerking service." "The clerking is superb - Eddie Johns is just so great and knows how to get things done." "The clerks are very professional and offer excellent client service." "You get a really superior service from 7 King’s Bench Walk and you always feel like the clerks go above and beyond to find time for you." "The clerks are great - they are swift in their response, they deal with things quickly and they are in good contact with the barristers. It is an exceptional team." "The clerks could not have done more to help, and they are very efficient. They are also helpful and fair on fees." "The 7KBW clerks are absolutely brilliant. They bend over backwards to help you, and the level of service is second to none."

9 Gough Chambers

Director of Clerking & Business Development: Michael Goodridge

"The director of clerking at 9 Gough Chambers, Michael Goodridge, is a stand-out. He is incredibly client-focused and is a great champion of his barristers." Ellie Brand, the executive civil and mediation clerk, is renowned for being "always keen to help and willing to resolve any issue that comes her way." "The clerks are really strong, proactive, responsive and they will try and find you alternatives and offer you expertise." "All the clerks at 9 Gough Chambers are very helpful, responsive and efficient." "The clerking team has coped extremely well with the pandemic - the transition to remote working was seamless." "They are all incredibly efficient and responsive, and the team is very well managed by the director of clerking Michael Goodridge." "Michael is clerking royalty - he nurtures all of his clients and is very responsive."

Fountain Court Chambers

Senior Clerk: Alex Taylor

"The support staff at Fountain Court are always attentive and the clerks very approachable. They are commercially minded on fees and willing to find solutions." "The clerks are brilliant. They are super responsive, on top of the details, flexible and open to any request." Senior clerk Alex Taylor "represents the absolute very best the Temple has to offer. He seemingly works 24 hours a day." Deputy senior clerk Sian Huckett is "very accommodating, super responsive and extremely easy to deal with," whilst "nothing is too much trouble" for fellow deputy senior clerk Katie Szewczyk."​Everyone on the clerking team at Fountain Court is accommodating and commercially minded." "The clerking service is first-rate - the clerks are very responsive and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure proceedings run smoothly." "Fountain Court is very high quality. The clerks are responsive and effective." "The clerking service is one of the best I have seen." "The clerks are excellent and they make you feel well looked after." "Deputy senior clerk Sian Huckett is an excellent clerk; she and the rest of Fountain Court work very hard to make things work for us from a funding and economic perspective." 

Members of the Fountain Court clerking team attend regular training programmes in order to keep abreast of market developments.

Blackstone Chambers

Senior Clerk: Gary Oliver

"Senior clerk Gary Oliver is the epitome of a great clerk. He's a great team player, easy to work with, happy to speak about fees and excellent across the board." "Derek Sutton, the deputy senior clerk at Blackstone Chambers, has been very responsive and pleasant to deal with throughout. Blackstone’s seminars are also very well run, topical and useful." "The clerks are extremely efficient, and have a good understanding of what the legal claims actually involve, so you can have a sensible discussion with them." "Adam Sloane, a deputy senior clerk, is extremely responsive and he understands our clients and their imperatives. He is fair and works with us to get things in place." "Billy Brian is very responsive and proactive in his approach." "Sophie Floydd has been efficient and quick." "The clerks at Blackstone Chambers should really be applauded as they have a very 'can do' attitude and they pull people together when you need them - they are superb." "The clerking service is excellent as the clerks really go the extra mile. I noticed no drop-off in the quality of the service they provided during the pandemic." "The clerking is top-notch - they're very good at knowing how to work the court system and make sure the clients' interests are heard. They're also very collaborative on fees." "The clerking service at Blackstone Chambers is good and they are quick to notice and deal with any potential conflict areas between barristers. Lewis Walker has always been helpful and very responsive."

One Essex Court

Senior Clerk: Darren Burrows

The very well-respected Darren Burrows "runs a tight ship" and leads a clerking team that includes first deputy senior clerk Jackie Ginty and deputy senior clerk Rob Smith. "The clerking at One Essex Court is the gold standard." "The clerks are incredibly helpful and go above and beyond to assist with liaising with the court." "The clerking is second to none; it's a world-class service." "Adam Wheeler makes sure that the clients know the full range of barristers that they can work with. He is one of the most responsive and proactive clerks in the market." "Jackie Gintie and Adam Wheeler make up a very strong and very responsive team." "The clerks at One Essex Court are incredibly efficient, very customer-focused and really proactive." "Darren Burrows runs the set in such a modern and forward-thinking way." "Darren Burrows, Jackie Ginty and David Amdor, one of the set's clerk team leaders, are very good. They are efficient and I rely on them to put forward names of individuals that would work well with us." "One Essex Court has one of the best clerking services - they're all commercial, pragmatic, innovative and very transparent." "Rob Smith, the deputy senior clerk, is just superb - he's responsive, thoroughly pleasant to deal with and bends over backwards for clients." "Jackie Ginty is great. I have worked with her a long time and she understands how we work. She is incredibly accommodating while also careful in managing expectations." "The clerking at One Essex Court is the best in the business. They are unbelievably proactive and helpful." "It is a hugely well-run set. They are accommodating, smart and understand the benefit of long-term relationships."

4 Paper Buildings

Senior Clerk: Michael Reeves

"I find 4 Paper Buildings to be incredibly warm in terms of its approach. You feel like you are dealing with people, and that matters. The clerks are accommodating, sensible in terms of pricing and approach and easy to work alongside. There are no egos there." "The clerks are accommodating, down-to-earth and knowledgeable of what is needed on different cases." "They are on the ball and get back to you quickly." "The clerks are all fabulous and they go over and above to assist. They sort out diary clashes, liaise with the court regarding listings and they are all an absolute joy to work with. They respond promptly to enquires, are flexible with deadlines and have a great understanding of the law so that they can assist in allocating appropriate counsel to a case." "4PB is a professional, knowledgeable and approachable set and nothing is too much trouble so far as the clerking team are concerned." "The set is excellent, modern and efficient. A special mention is needed for first junior Paul Hennessey who has great client care, but all the clerks are on top of all the cases, reliable about bookings and clear about fees." "The clerks really know their stuff in terms of what might be needed in a particular case and who might be best placed; they won't push barristers who aren't right for a particular client and are very accommodating and down to earth." "The clerks at 4PB always seem to know which barrister to recommend for a case and their case management with the court and diaries is unmatched."

During the pandemic, 4 Paper Buildings was noted as having worked closely with the Family Law Bar Association, and consequently the judiciary, to help develop and test remote platforms being assessed by the courts for use.

Garden Court Chambers

Director of Clerking: Colin Cook

Deputy Director of Clerking and Immigration Practice Manager: Lisa O'Leary

Cross Practice Development Manager: Emma Nash

Senior Civil Practice Manager: Emma Manning

Housing Practice Manager: Tim Hempsted

Family Practice Manager: Paul Sams

Crime Practice Manager: Charlie Tennent

"The clerks at Garden Court Chambers are really responsive, prompt and provide a good service to their solicitors." "Senior civil practice manager Emma Manning is helpful and really good." "The clerking is polite and friendly, and they go out of their way to ensure that I am able to utilise the best barristers for my cases. The team are organised and quick to respond." "Tim Hempsted is always great; whenever I need anything he makes it happen, and he's a lovely guy too." "Sam Carter is excellent - efficient, helpful and responsive." "Emma Nash is always very, very helpful and responsive. She follows up with things and keeps me updated." "The clerks are very helpful, especially with technical support for arranging telephone or video conference meetings." "Sam Carter stands out for having a good understanding of the pressures solicitors are under." "They are helpful, accommodating and quick to respond, particularly on urgent hearings with 24 hours' notice." "The clerks at Garden Court Chambers are helpful, approachable and work collaboratively to provide a joined-up service for clients." "The clerking team are well organised and they regularly check in to see how they can improve or where they can provide additional training. They also respond very quickly to queries."

1 Crown Office Row

Chambers Director: Andrew Meyler
Senior Clerk: Matthew Phipps

"Matthew Phipps leads the show at 1COR and he is brilliant, but they are all excellent and if there's anyone I can't get hold of I know someone else will always step into the breach to help me." "The clerks are very pleasant, responsive, helpful and delightful to work with." "The clerks always provide the highest level of service and are knowledgeable, friendly, courteous and efficient." "The clerks have always been incredibly helpful and knowledgeable, ensuring that a first-class service is delivered." "The clerking service at 1 Crown Office Row is second to none. They are excellent, responsive, extremely personable and nothing is too much trouble. I know my case is in safe hands." "The clerks really are fantastic. In addition to being very friendly and approachable, they are very competent, efficient and reliable." "The clerking is superb: extremely responsive and nothing is ever too much trouble." "I deal with Andrew Tull and Chloe Turvill, and they are very good at getting back to me quickly with options on hearings, and at matching counsel to the particular case." "The clerks at 1 Crown Office Row are very responsive and user-friendly."

1 Crown Office Row produces the well-reviewed Law Pod podcast, in which the barristers share their expertise on various areas of law. Training events and seminars are also laid on for instructing law firms.  The set runs an extensive programme of training seminars, podcasts and socials throughout the country in order to maintain a close relationship with clients.

Devereux

Chambers Director: Vince Plant

"The practice leader Vince Plant and the other clerks at Devereux are very good and very helpful." "The clerks are fantastic, quick and really understand their clients." "The clerking is very well organised and efficient. They are able to provide clear, commercial advice that is pragmatic and engages with clients’ needs in a timely and focused manner. They are friendly and helpful and they are willing to provide alternatives if the initial request is not available." "The clerks at Devereux are receptive and very quick to respond if there are any queries. You are always left with a clear understanding that they have listened to what you want." "The clerking is excellent, the paperwork is well managed and the set is very well run. Everyone on the team is friendly, efficient and reasonable." "The clerks have good, proactive communication with those that instruct the set, which makes it easy." "The Devereux clerks are very efficient and reliable, particularly Glenn Billenness, senior practice manager. They are always quick to come back to us and are very helpful when we have further questions." "The clerks are incredibly helpful and have dealt with all of my enquiries promptly and professionally. I was particularly impressed with Cyrus Biggs, senior practice manager." "The clerks are high quality - they're responsive, organised and go out of their way to be helpful." 

1 King’s Bench Walk

Senior Clerk: Chris Gittins

"1KBW is a well-run ship that aims to deliver a first-rate service and succeeds in doing so." "The clerks are helpful, friendly and responsive. They want to make your life easier." "The clerks are user-friendly and will always bend over backwards to find the right choice of counsel for cases." "Senior clerk Chris Gittins is commercial and a shining light in the clerking world." "The clerking service at 1 King’s Bench Walk is second to none and they will go out of their way to assist. If you are unable to instruct the barrister you want to instruct, they will work with you to find a good alternative. A special mention must go to deputy senior clerk Mark Betts and practice manager Lewis Hicks. They are both so helpful, cheerful and they make my job 100% easier." "The clerks are an incredibly friendly group of people who are incredibly keen to help. They are able to adapt to their clients’ needs and are very easy to interact with." "The clerks are direct, honest and transparent, which makes all the difference in the world. They are really flexible, client-led and incredibly user-friendly." "Chris Gittins, Mark Betts and senior practice manager Nicola Cade are standouts, but everyone on the team is excellent and you feel as though you're getting a Rolls Royce service. They're very good at finding solutions when there may be issues with diaries and they're always trying to find a way to help and make the life of a solicitor easier." "The clerks are very on the ball, always willing to accommodate requests and have been very helpful. They make you feel valued."

12 King’s Bench Walk

Director of Clerking: Oliver Parkhouse
Senior Clerk: Graham Johnson

"The clerking at 12KBW is exceptional - they go above and beyond and are super helpful and responsive. The team is a standout in this area." "We receive excellent service from the clerks, and the senior clerk Graham Johnson and director of clerking Oliver Parkhouse are doing a great job. The team have been particularly impressive during lockdown and have set up a regular webinar training programme which has been appreciated." "The webinars and training the set provides are spot on. They adapted very quickly and well during the pandemic." "The clerks always come back to you quickly, they discuss who is best to assist and they find sensible counsel to match our needs." "Oliver Parkhouse has a very good reputation as director of clerking and the arrangements in place at the set are efficient and effective." "The clerks at 12 King’s Bench Walk are very approachable and are keen to engage and develop relationships." "They are flexible and very accommodating; it's a really reliable operation." "The set is very well run and the clerks are excellent, particularly practice team leader Lexie Johnson, who gets back to you very quickly and is efficient and nice to deal with. The team are also realistic with fees and understand the pressure from clients." "The director of clerking, Oliver Parkhouse, effectively steers the set and a standout team of caring, contentious and incredibly helpful clerks."

12KBW's Annual Asbestos Seminar and its Asbestos Law Blog are highly rated by instructing solicitors in the market, and the set is a supporter of several charities such as the Mavis Nye Foundation and Mesothelioma UK. The set has also produced training webinars on employment law issues, which are available to view on its website.

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