Online barristers’ chambers The Barrister Group (TBG) has secured significant private equity investment in its mission to bring technology and flexibility to the 21st century Bar.
The investment – described as an eight-figure sum – came from LDC, part of Lloyds Banking Group, and is reportedly the first such investment in the Bar of England and Wales.
TBG is the umbrella group for brands including Clerksroom Chambers and Clerksroom Direct. The investment will see LDC support the group’s growth in the legal sector as it looks to attract more barristers and instructions with its “tech-enabled” alternative chambers model, said TBG.
TBG added its “innovative and proprietary” Chambers365 management software gives barristers choice over their working patterns and operates on a remote basis without the need for a physical chambers.
“Since we began back in 2001 as Clerksroom, we’ve wanted to make a difference to the way the Bar operates,” said Stephen Ward, co-founder of TBG:
“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.
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.”
Harry Hodgkin, Chief Executive and co-founder of TBG and former barrister, said:
“This investment is testament to the hard work those behind this concept have put in over the years, and is also an opportunity for TBG and the Bar to look to the future. We cater for a range of barristers, whether it’s those building their practice, established KCs, specialist practitioners, those seeking more flexible working patterns, or those who aren’t.”
Christina Blacklaws, Non-Executive Director of TBG and former President of the Law Society, said:
“This isn’t only an investment in a barristers’ chambers. It’s 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 whereby instructing solicitors and members of the public can access counsel quickly and efficiently. It’s also an investment in an alternative way of working at and with the Bar which allows greater choice for a profession whose wellbeing is a common cause of concern.”
LDC’s investment was led by Investment Directors Oliver Schofield and Stefan Gunn and Investment Manager Alex Knox. It’s said the investment will be used to support and advance the practices of existing members, to develop and grow specialist practice groups, to increase opportunities for those practising or seeking to practise at the Bar, to encourage and make it easier for members of the public to use a barrister, and to further develop the underlying legal technologies to support these objectives.