We are a group of dedicated direct access immigration barristers / lawyers passionately committed to delivering the highest standards of service to our clients. We also recognise that the legal profession has got progressively more difficult and more expensive to break into. There have been numerous discussions on Twitter and other social media sites about the forthcoming cuts to legal aid, or should it better put, further cuts to legal aid.
Imperium Chambers (“IC”) therefore has not just the goal of striving to do the best we can for our clients but also to whatever we can in respect of assisting individuals. IC has not been set up to be a mere facsimile of convention sets, hence our focus on direct access clients and also the additional support staff. At present, though we hope this will change rapidly, there are but two practising barristers and three people to support them. I am not sure if this balance / ratio will continue but I hope it does and it will ensure that clients get the attention they deserve.
IC will soon be looking to invite applications for membership. This is really exciting as IC will be in a position to be able to offer differing levels of membership with different charges. One aim is to provide the resources, space and support for barristers who have their own practice but require minimal administrative assistance. We see no reason why barristers cannot and should not simply just bill their own work having completed it and are in the process of implementing such a system. The benefit of this will be clear. Those members of the bar who have good relationships with their solicitors / private clients will simply be supported in being able to do the work and bill it themselves without the need for expensive overheads. This is obviously not going to suit everyone but our research speaks of a significant number who would be. It is also a model for the individual who wishes to practice perhaps part time and is easing themselves back into or indeed out of practice.
We are also looking to providing a higher level of service for those who have an established direct access practice but who are struggling to keep up with their success. One of the reasons for creating IC was to provide the space to really grow public access work and to support other barristers in doing the same. Anyone with some public access experience will know that the time spent at the photocopier for example is not the most cost effective / productive use of time, yet conventional chambers are not geared up to help. Our goal will be to provide such support to be bought in on an as required basis. IC will provide the assistance as when required and it will be billed accordingly, again avoiding the unfairness perceived or otherwise, that some members have an unfair advantage / inequitable share of chambers resources.
We are also currently investigating the possibility of registration as an ABS to take advantage of the additional Court work that we are at present unable to handle.
A further goal is for IC to become registered as a pupil training organisation (“PTO”) and to implement a program of recruiting two pupils on a rolling timetable. Nishan and myself believe that there is a moral responsibility to take the time and commit the finances in order to build / assist in the next generation of the bar and that anyone who joins IC will share this belief. It is only by existing members of the bar supporting those coming through that the bar will survive. We believe that IC will be in a position to make such a commitment and will be advertising through the appropriate channels once we are in a position to do so.
Once we have been approved as a PTO we will also be inviting applications for mini pupillage. At present we have decided to accept application for those who are wishing for an internship. This will be a fairly unique internship as the successful candidate will spend their time split shadowing Counsel in Court and being in chambers itself. If this interests you please feel free to get in touch.
In addition to seeking to recruit pupils in the conventional manner IC will be recruiting a further paralegal in the short to mid term both to help with the existing work and also the planned expansion and again this will be advertised.
We have thought it helpful to set out in the above post what our plans our, obviously as we are aware plans can be subject to change.
© 2015 Imperium Chambers. All rights reserved.
2 Selkirk Road