WINNER

Chambers of the Year

Matrix Chambers

Matrix Chambers’ boasted a phenomenal list of cases last year and a stellar cast of appointments to silk. Known for its human rights work, the set’s members and staff worked tirelessly on long and complex cases, often against governments or global corporates with endless resources and formidable legal teams to produce excellent outcomes for clients that repeatedly make headlines and govern human rights practice in the UK and worldwide.

The set’s innovative approach to clerking led to a number of business successes last year including taking five new members in the last six months, doubling its premises to make way for future growth and the exponential development of its public international law, sports law and media law teams.

Its focus on equality and diversity, both internally and broadcasting its beliefs to the wider profession, has led to the chambers being recognised as Stonewall Diversity Champions for two years. Matrix also collaborated with the Bar Council to run an open day encouraging those with disabilities to the Bar – now an annual event aimed at reducing barriers to the profession.

Senior managers value retention and development of women as key to business success and the set has introduced flexible working and shared maternity and paternity leave, as well as putting together a women’s group to ensure women at all levels of the set feel supported in their roles.

Judges said Matrix“stands out, over and above its competitors”, also lauding its innovative social media strategy – the chambers has the most Twitter followers of any set (6,500) and a huge following on LinkedIn.

Runner up
  • Outer Temple Chambers

Outer Temple Chambers has coordinated silks and juniors on a vast range of impressive and socially ground-breaking cases over the last year. Currently working at the forefront of a group litigation brought against Asda by thousands of claimants over equal pay, the case represents a successful strategy by the set to develop crossover specialist teams that can offer clients a unique and comprehensive service that combines pensions and employment law. The Asda case, which featured in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2015, will have huge implications for the retail and employment sector, and necessitates complex fee arrangements to reflect the needs of clients.

Outer Temple also pioneered a new contributions structure this year to incentivise and retain high earning barristers by restructuring chambers into two departments: business and health, each with their own management and clerking teams, budgets and fees.

Judges said the chambers displayed “innovation at management level” and a canny “reaction to market shifts”.

Third place
  • Serjeants' Inn Chambers

Serjeants’ Inn Chambers routinely faces cases of international importance with wide-reaching implications for public policy. In the last year the set has coordinated members on cases and investigations including the Hillsborough inquests, the first female genital mutilation prosecution, multi-million pound litigations related to defective implants and Forex manipulation litigation. Innovation at management level has ensured a sophisticated and inventive approach to business practices including its open-plan premises, desk sharing and hot-desking arrangements.

The chambers has multiple channels of communication for all members and staff and ensures commercial but conscientious clerking that meant it increased profits last year despite cuts to public funding. Its flexible fee policies for members also led judges to comment Serjeants’ Inn displayed “strategy and innovation” and “quality work”.

Shortlisted
  • 3 Verulam Buildings
  • 39 Essex Chambers
  • No5 Chambers
  • Parklane Plowden
  • Quadrant Chambers