Legal Business

Pulling the strings – the surprisingly successful re-invention of clerking

The relationship between barrister and clerk has long outgrown its traditional master-and-servant image as the reputation of clerks has evolved. Legal Business goes behind closed doors into the elusive world of clerking.

It’s a typically busy morning for the senior clerk at a well-known civil set of chambers. Piles of paperwork cover the desk and the phone flashes red with multiple client voicemails. He has yet to tackle the diaries of 50-plus barristers, and his caffeine levels are running abnormally low. The door to his office, covered in portraits of ancient Queen’s Counsel, swings open and there stands the head of chambers, a veteran in the field of civil law and the regular recipient of multi-million pound briefs, with a dejected look on his face.