Extract from Client Service at the Bar -
Chambers & Partners 2013...
Old Square Chambers "is just head and shoulders above most of its peers in terms of client service."
Observers say that providing a practical and client-focused approach seems to be hard-wired into the set's DNA. Much of the credit for this is firmly placed at the door of the "efficient and friendly head clerk William Meade," whose leadership of the clerking team sets the tone for the rest of the set to follow.
One of the traits identified by commentators is that the individuals here offer "a more personal touch than many competitors," which manifests itself in the slightly less formal approach of both barristers and clerks. All concerned are "always available to discuss matters on the phone," and "put a lot of effort into making the relationship with solicitors and clients work." The set's operating procedure includes a commitment to continuous improvement, which takes a number of forms. It is most visible to instructing solicitors in terms of the ongoing feedback process offered. This allows an already high-quality service to be fine tuned as relationships between barrister and solicitor develop.
Old Square Chambers aims to provide the highest possible standards of advocacy, advice and service. With this in mind, we provide this information in order to set out in clear terms our policies and practices as they relate directly to the service we provide for you.
Review of new Instructions and Briefs: Counsel will review new briefs and instructions within 5 days of receipt (or sooner if marked urgent) to provide an initial response or to assess whether they are able to conduct the work by the date required. If the agreed deadline is not possible, a revised date will be negotiated or if there is no room for manoeuvre, the instructions will be reallocated to someone (with your approval), who is able to comply.
Paperwork: It is Chambers' policy that all written work should be completed within 28 days. This standard will be applied unless you agree to another deadline (shorter or longer) appropriate to your case. Any such agreement will be recorded on our computer system so that we can monitor progress against our commitment to you. Every attempt will be made to adhere to these arrangements but we will notify you as soon as possible in the unlikely event of our being unable to meet the deadline set. If a matter is required to be dealt with urgently, it would assist if you could contact us in advance and/or clearly mark the back sheet as 'urgent'.
Court Appearances: When you contact Chambers to book Counsel, we will advise you if the barrister of your choice has an existing commitment and establish your wishes as to the use of alternative counsel. Should you wish to double-book your preferred counsel, we will keep you informed as to likely availability as the court date approaches so that you may reassess your options. In the unusual circumstance that acceptable cover cannot be provided within Chambers, we will, if required, assist in finding other Chambers to assist you.
Briefs: It is vital to the smooth and effective handling of a case that we have sufficient time to prepare for court appearances. Many cases now require skeleton arguments to be lodged in advance of the hearing so it is therefore essential that instructions are sent giving ample time for preparation. For our part, we shall ensure that we arrive at court within plenty of time to allow time for discussion with yourself and your client.
Members of Chambers practise under the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England & Wales and adhere to Chambers policies and procedures defined in our Quality Manual. This has been developed to ensure compliance with the Legal Services Commission Quality Mark for the Bar ('Quality Mark'). We uphold the Bar Council's Policy for Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination.
The Management System we operate incorporates continuous improvement mechanisms that allow us to monitor our effectiveness against our standards, procedures and policies and to instigate improvement initiatives where relevant. An important source of information for improvement comes from client feedback and we would ask you to inform the Senior Clerk or Team Leader immediately should you experience any difficulty with our Chambers, its staff or its members. We have appropriate internal procedures for addressing clients' concerns and take their comments seriously. Please feel free to contact the clerks with any feedback you have about chambers.
Whilst all barristers and staff strive to maintain high standards of service, there might be occasions when a client is dissatisfied with the service provided by a barrister or Chambers staff. In such situations we invite clients (professional or lay) to bring the matter to the attention of Chambers as soon as possible. To that end we have a Complaints Procedure
which is available to clients. A hard copy of our Complaints Procedure can be provided upon request. The Complaints Procedure sets out the detailed mechanics of the procedure.
We have strategic development and planning processes in place to ensure that clear objectives are set and the services we provide keep pace with changing client needs and a rapidly changing legal profession. We welcome your views regarding our services and to this end would encourage you to provide feedback regarding the service provided either on a case-by-case basis or during training and social events. From time to time, we will also conduct surveys to gauge opinion on how well we are achieving our objectives and would appreciate a few minutes of your time in completing the form if you are one of our clients selected, at random, to participate in this process.
In the meantime, thank you for valued instructions and please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance.