Set goes after two quality standards

Francis Taylor Building has brought in training consultants to help it comply with two quality standards – Investors in People and the Bar's own practice management standards.

The general common law set, which has 34 tenants, believes it is the first set in the country to have opted to work towards joint compliance with both of the standards.

It has hired Central Law Training, which helped the Bar Council draw up its practice management standards, to advise on the project, which is part-funded by the Central London Training and Enterprise Council (Centec).

Head of chambers Nicholas Valios QC said the chambers recognised that it needed to adopt a structured approach to its development rather than rely purely on "the isolated efforts of individual barristers and clerks".

He said that "encouraging progress" had led to a realistic business plan and an improvement in the financial information available to the chambers.

"Increasing competition at the Bar and the growing expectations of our clients for an efficient service prompted us to take this initiative," he added.

As part of the initiative, the set will be sending out questionnaires to its clients to assess the chambers' performance.

Senior clerk David Green commented: "Much more time is being spent on the marketing and promotion of chambers. Without constructive criticism, and without knowing what is going wrong, you can't put it right."

Chris Andrews, of Central Law Training, said the training consultants had helped the set organise a full-day off-site meeting to get the project up and running.

"As clients and bodies like the Legal Aid Board start to want objective confirmation of the 'quality service' that every chambers' brochure claims, the two standards are becoming increasingly important," he said.