Chambers Innovation winner – HardwickeFinalists: 20 Essex Street; Radcliffe Chambers; Serjeants’ Inn Chambers (highly commended).

Hardwicke won the Chambers Innovation award for its efforts to revolutionise how chambers deliver their services, by positioning itself as a commercial business.

Hardwicke says this approach is still novel in the industry as it goes beyond simply taking a commercial approach to cases. Its business plan focuses on developing relationships with key clients and while individual barristers still typically take overall responsibility for particular clients, Hardwicke is taking steps to ensure business development is seen as a group activity and that knowledge is not concentrated in any one person, by introducing a client relationship management programme.

In addition, information sharing is encouraged, with an open-plan staff room. A revamped practice management review process also helps members grow their practice, such as monitoring a member’s web profile and other internal and external interactions.

Star performers are identified and developed through Hardwicke’s silk programme, helping members who are hoping to apply for silk to start the process several years in advance of application, to boost their chances of success. Hardwicke has also rolled out a corporate social responsibility programme that focuses on youth, education and access to the legal profession by encouraging those from less privileged backgrounds to consider a career in the law.

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