Private-equity investors have injected at least Stg £10 million into a barristers’ chambers looking to turn the traditional model on its head, according to a report in the Law Society Gazette of England and Wales.
LDC, part of the Lloyds Banking Group, has committed an “eight-figure” minority investment into The Barrister Group (TBG).
The Gazette says that this is believed to be the first time that private equity has turned to the barristers' profession.
TBG, the umbrella group for legal brands such as Clerksroom Chambers and Clerksroom Direct, will use the money to attract more barristers and instructions, and to enhance a tech-enabled remote-chambers model.
“Since we began back in 2001 as Clerksroom we’ve wanted to make a difference to the way the bar operates,” the Gazette quoted Stephen Ward (co-founder of TBG) as saying.
“The traditional chambers model has its place, but might not be for all barristers. Our technology and our model offer many advantages that other chambers may not be able to match,” Ward continued.
“We are building the bar of the 21st century, and LDC’s experience of building tech-enabled services companies will help us take the next step in making that happen,” he added.
‘Opening up profession’
Investors are believed to have been keen on the model of allowing barristers to choose the hours and locations they want, and for allocation of work to be based on those factors, rather than solicitors choosing which barrister they instruct.
The management software Chambers365 has been developed to enable this to happen, according to the Gazette.
Christina Blacklaws (non-executive director of TBG) described LDCs investment as “an investment in legal technology, an investment in opening up the profession to a wider pool of talent, and an investment in access to justice”.
“It’s also an investment in an alternative way of working at and with the bar that allows greater choice for a profession whose wellbeing is a common cause of concern,” she added.
Ward said that the group, which has around 240 barristers, wanted to raise awareness that people and businesses can access legal services directly.