Cox tells how set is bucking the practice manager trend

John Malpas reports

A large, thriving chambers can be run without either a chief executive or practice manager, a leading head of chambers has claimed.

Laura Cox QC, head of Cloisters chambers, told a seminar on managing and marketing of chambers how her 42 tenant set was bucking the trend of using practice managers.

A set run by barristers' committees could work well, she said, if it was "cohesive" and had a culture of openness.

A consistent recruitment policy was a vital part of her set's strategy.

"There must also be clear channels of communications within chambers, and if problems do emerge they must be tackled immediately before they are allowed to fester," she added.

Cox said day-to-day management of chambers was assigned to a small committee of herself and two other tenants, which met fortnightly.

A series of other committees covered specific areas such as public relations, accommodation and recruitment and submitted reports to thrice-yearly general meetings.

Every three to five years the set established a special strategic working party made up of five tenants representing the range of opinion and experience in the set.

This body determined the set's overall strategy, a role some sets were now assigning to practice managers or chief executives.

The seminar was one of three organised by The Lawyer that examined managing and marketing chambers.

Sessions two and three, on marketing chambers and improving profitability respectively, are scheduled for 21 October and 5 November.