The bar awakes

Today’s ‘hottest barristers’ story has certainly got chins wagging at the bar, though the record revenues of £48.3m posted by London set 39 Essex Street will probably be of more interest than a bunch of well turned out lawyers.

The bar is changing, partly because of the ever-growing size of the leading sets (39 Essex Street specifically expanded rapidly last year when it took in 24 new members from 4-5 Gray’s Inn followed by a team of four clerks from the same set). This additional financial muscle and bolted-on headcount is paving the way for the more forward-thinking sets to mirror the operationally-focused moves of their law firm cousins. As David Stead, CEO of 11KBW, puts it, “change is really accelerating at the bar as it is across the legal industry and barristers are waking up to the fact that they can’t just sit in their rooms, go to court and wait for the next case to come”.

The theme of how the bar is changing and marketing itself is one The Lawyer will return to in the bar section of this year’s UK 200 Annual Report. It will also be reflected in the inaugural The Lawyer Management conference and awards, both of which are rapidly approaching. Confirmed attendees for the former are already eagerly looking forward to the day’s events on 24 September while the shortlist for the published earlier this month. Click here for more detail on the reasons why the firms shortlisted for this year’s 14 awards have made the grade.

In addition to these stories, check out the Legal Eye briefing on minimising risk and maximising compliance and allow Informance to reveal how lawyers can view, analyse and interact with data and monitor their firm’s financial performance more effectively.

Matt Byrne
Feature editor
matt.byrne@thelawyer.com