Innovation at the Bar: Who is leading the way?

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(Reposted from Thomson Reuters UK & Ireland Legal Solutions Blog, published on 24 May 2017, here. You can also see my full report and profiles there).

The Bar is steeped in tradition. Although often considered a profession hampered by antiquated structures, the strong independent Bar remains fundamental to the rule of law, with a history of dynamic change dating back to its ejection from the City of London under Henry III.

In recent years, the Bar has faced rapid and unprecedented change. Funding cuts, new cost regimes, regulatory changes, increased barriers to entry, and changing client demands are among the changes impacting on the daily work of barristers.

How have barristers responded? How have they innovated? What benefits have they gained? And what is the future for the Bar?

‘We are not just innovating the Bar; we are innovating the entire legal industry.’ (Daniel ShenSmith, ShenSmith Barristers)

This short report from Thomson Reuters will look at the answers to these questions. We have spoken to some of the key players transforming today’s modern Bar – including barristers, Chief Executives, clerks, and other innovators. The report examines key areas of Bar innovation, and includes case studies from those at the forefront of change.

Areas covered:

• Drivers for innovation including changing regulation, client demand, and intensity of competition
• Growth of the superset
• New boutique sets
• New models, ABSs, and regulation
• Public access and international client bases
• Changing ways of getting work and referral structures
• Technology
• Outsourcing and other support
• Practice management and premises strategy
• New business and pricing models
• Cost reduction

‘Innovation is something you do to survive.’ (Stephen Ward, Clerksroom)

The future is bright for the Bar. The best of barrister innovation combines the Bar’s distinctive heritage and unique selling points with a modern dynamic business environment.

Read our full report to find out more.