Rose heralds the virtual chambers

Anthony Rose, Barlow Lyde & Gilbert's former corporate head, is to set up a “virtual” law chambers along with five other leading City partners.

Rose, who left Barlows in April to set up a sole practice, aims to launch the chambers, Hampden Legal, in the New Year. It will provide back-office services to a network of former City practitioners, including himself, who want to work alone or from home.

He said the head of banking at a top 10 City firm, the head of corporate at a top 20 firm, two insolvency partners and an English project finance partner at a US firm were all committed to the project.

Rose, Hampden Legal's managing director, said the practice would charge a fee for services calculated as a percentage of the income of any practitioner joining the network. It will provide accounts, secretarial and billing services to its members.

The chambers will be an offshoot of Hampden Management Services, run by Rose's long-standing client Tim Oliver, which provides computing and management services to insurance and re-insurance companies working in the Lloyd's market.

Rose said: “As the network grows, individual solicitors will be able to refer work to other members if they are ill or unable to do the work. There will be regular meetings and seminars for all members.”

Chris Davis, who runs 40-lawyer Davis & Co as a full-service “virtual firm” with lawyers teleworking from home, said of Rose's project: “If the client is buying the lawyer as an individual then it will work. If the client is buying the bricks and mortar and the brand name then it is difficult.”

Phil Brown, law firm management consultant at Hodgart Temporal, said the concept was only likely to work for specific niche areas where there was no need for huge depth or face-to-face negotiations.