Commercial firm launches “in-house barristers’ chambers”

updated on 27 January 2021

Leading commercial firm DAC Beachcroft has launched an “in-house chambers”, with plans for it to become “the biggest model of its kind” by the end of the year, according to Sahar Farooqi, one of the two barrister partners leading the project.

The in-house chambers has been launched in a bid to provide a “one-stop shop” tailored service for corporate clients that will set the firm apart from its competitors. With an initial focus on insurance-related disputes work, including personal injury, property, costs litigation and fraud, there are plans to expand this focus.

Unlike most firms which employ only a few barristers who get involved in general work plus advocacy, Farooqi explains that DAC Beachcroft wanted to launch a “chambers-style service in the law firm”, which would quickly grow. The firm is expected to hire 10 members of staff by the end of January 2021, including barristers and a clerk, with the number of staff increasing to 25-30 by the end of spring, including barristers, solicitor-advocates, other advocates and clerks. “This is about investment in innovation,” Farooqi said.

Farooqi and Jonathan Robinshaw will lead the firm’s in-house chambers together, after managing DWF’s advocacy division, DWF Advocacy, until the end of last year. According to Farooqi, the set would have a clerking team, much like a traditional chambers, however barristers and solicitor-advocates would work alongside each other, while Bar students who have successfully completed their vocational training would take on advocate roles.

Farooqi said: “It reflects the fact that a lot of clients of big firms want those firms to offer them innovative services with multiple functions under one roof. As time goes on, more and more people will be doing that.”

DAC Beachcroft’s managing partner David Pollitt said: “Our clients want increased flexibility and smarter, quicker delivery of services.

“Being in a position to offer them a one-stop shop for their litigation and dispute resolution needs means we can add significant value and give them a tailored service that sets us apart from our competitors.”