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Shared office space “will give barristers pay-as-you-go London base”

Ward: Aiming at chambers based outside London

A shared office space in London that aims to give barristers around the country a physical presence in the capital on a pay-as-you-go basis will open shortly, Legal Futures can reveal.

The business, Barrister Hub, is a joint venture between Clerksroom and barrister-focused recruitment and consultancy company Chambers People, which will manage the space.

It will be based in the serviced office building known as 160 Fleet Street; the lease was signed on Wednesday.

Clerksroom, which is based in Taunton, Somerset, will provide the clerking services if required.

Any barrister can use it, whether or not they are part of Clerksroom.

The building has a coffee shop, a gym, shared meeting rooms, and has offices for rent. The joint venture will rent a dedicated space and brand it as Barrister Hub.

Stephen Ward, Clerksroom’s co-founder and managing director, said that if the venture was successful, it would be rolled out to other areas of the country.

He explained the aim of Barrister Hub was to offer “a minimal footprint with massive resources” and the “environment is… what we want a barrister’s office to look like for the next five to 10 years”.

“We simply don’t like the model that chambers makes a decision and everyone has to share the expense if they don’t use it.”

He continued: “We’ve got barristers all over the country. When they are in court in London, it’s useful for them to have a base.

“What we’re trying to do is find a way of providing maximum resources with very little commitment, so it’s pay-as-you-go.

“The only way we can do that is to offer them as widely as we can to the Bar as a whole.”

He added: “At the moment if you are a chambers in Birmingham or Manchester and want a presence in London, you may take a serviced office, but not many chambers have the resource to share that with other people.

“Because of the way 160 Fleet St has been structured by the owners – based on maximisation of shared space and minimisation of the rented space – that model works really well for us.

“For instance, [if you] need to book an internal meeting for three hours [you] will get charged for a room for three hours.

“If it works, we would look towards having different hubs in different areas around the UK, but that’s very much down the line.”