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LWIA Winners Large-15_616x372

Finalists: Cleveland & Co Associates; Excello Law; gunnercooke; My Home Move (highly commended).

Immigration specialists Richmond Chambers claimed the ABS Innovation prize for developing a commercially viable business structure that allows it to compete directly with solicitors for private client work.

It has achieved this by rethinking the traditional route to the Bar by enabling, for instance, new entrants to work as in-house paralegals before commencing pupillage, while replacing traditional clerks with client care-focused admin staff (who make use of cloud-based case and financial management systems, and marketing channels such as blogs and social media).

Other initiatives have included introducing a management team to make strategic decisions, paying barristers a fixed base salary with an increasing percentage of receipts above certain thresholds, embracing dual-practice arrangements (so that self-employed barristers can take on direct access work alongside any existing referral work) and allowing barristers greater working freedoms (such as one paid day of homeworking per week and flexible hours).

Since its inception five years ago, turnover has grown to about £1.25m, from £350,000 in its first year. It is also the first barrister-only chambers to be awarded ABS status by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Extensive client testimonials written on its Google review page can only be described as glowing.

 

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