Parklane Plowden Chambers is seeing the long-term benefits after its 2014 restructuring
In an increasingly competitive and financially challenging legal marketplace, the demand on law firms and barristers’ chambers alike has been to innovate and explore new ways of working in order to succeed. It is easy to accept that this could be trickier for barristers’ chambers to achieve, given the highly traditional and arguably outdated structure they take.
However, Parklane Plowden has made pioneering changes that have enabled it to achieve exceptional growth of 17% over the past four years and secure its position as a leading light on the north-eastern circuit.
‘We recognised that in order to thrive it was essential to streamline business management processes to save time, money and improve the way information was shared, to enable decisions to be made swiftly and with confidence,’ explains head of chambers Christopher Williams.
‘We now very much see ourselves as a business rather than simply a barristers’ chambers.’
Christopher Williams, Parklane Plowden
The solution was to implement a radical business and management restructure at the end of 2014, which saw the formation of two managerial entities: an executive management board to focus on outward-facing activity and business strategy; and the formation of Plowden Facilities – a company tasked with providing support services to chambers, including clerking, marketing, facilities and financial management.
‘The result has been that we very much see ourselves as a business rather than simply a barristers’ chambers,’ continues Williams. ‘Chambers has become operationally and structurally a much slicker outfit, which has undoubtedly benefited our clients.’
Since the restructure, chambers has not only grown in barrister numbers (it is now nudging 100 members), it has also added new areas of expertise, meaning that it now has the widest specialism offering of any other chambers on circuit. Barristers work within the key sectors of civil, family, employment, commercial and chancery, and boast an enviable collection of legal directory rankings and recommendations.
They fly the flag for the North East on a national scale with multiple contracts with leading insurers, involvement in high-profile cases in the Supreme Court and family courts. Described as ‘a very forward-thinking set’ by Chambers & Partners 2018, Parklane Plowden has cemented its reputation for commercial awareness, quality of legal advice, sector knowledge and bespoke, innovative solutions for the delivery of barrister services.