Otterburn Legal Consulting
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Chambers management reviews

Chambers management reviews, decision making and strategy

We are consultants to chambers advising on chambers management, decision making and strategy.  These areas are problematic in most sets and many still operate essentially the same business model used 50 years ago:

  • most decisions are taken by meetings of all the members, often with a requirement for a high vote in favour for a motion to be carried
  • management is delegated to a management committee, comprising representatives of different practice groups or years call, rather than people with the right personal skills
  • management committees often focus on administration rather than strategic management
  • leadership is provided by the most senior or highly regarded lawyers, rather than those with the right personal skill
  • In most sets the management committee is not remunerated, so there is a direct financial implication for anyone willing to devote the time needed to run chambers.
  • Many sets have sought to overcome the problem by appointing a chief executive, however decisions are still taken by the members’ meetings, and unless the head of chambers is very progressive, the chief executive solution rarely works.

The problem is that increasingly chambers will be competing with law firms and new market entrants offering advocacy services that may be owned by people other than lawyers.  They will run very different business models and will have a clear strategy and goal.  they will take decisions quickly and will have  a sense of the opportunities that lie ahead.  The added difficulty is the high dependency many chambers have on legal aid and he risks associated with that, in particular the possibility of contracting in areas such as crime.

“Andrew Otterburn and Ian Dodd quickly got to grips with the financial landscape of our chambers by their attention to detail. Their drive, determination and dedication helped us to devise a strategic plan for growth. They were both extremely generous with their time and motivational in their responses. As a result of their input we have formulated our budget with a much clearer knowledge and understanding of our potential sources of income and our priorities for expenditure.”

Chambers reviews

Working with my colleague Ian Dodd, our work with barristers revolves around breaking out of the traditional ways of thinking and finding new structures that enable chambers to operate in a much more business like manner.   The result is:

  • more focused management
  • better and faster decision making
  • higher fees and better cash flow
  • chambers that will be better able to deal with the challenges that lie ahead

Click the link to visit the Bar Consultancy Network

Our work with law firms helps considerably with our work with chambers as very often the solutions that work in law firms can also, with modification, by successfully implemented in a barristers chambers.

For more details of our Chambers Management Reviews click here.