The fall of BarFutures
Experimental virtual chambers BarFutures is to close its doors at the end of June after two years because of a ‘lack of appetite for change within the profession’, the Gazette has learned.
The alternative set was designed to meet the challenges posed by the Legal Services Act 2007 and give barristers a more cost-effective and time-efficient way to practise.
Rather than working in a traditional chambers, BarFutures provided management and marketing services and working accommodation in London and Manchester, to enable barristers to operate remotely and remain fully independent while benefiting from shared support.
It gave solicitors a more cost-effective and streamlined way to instruct barristers, using BarFutures’ own barristers, or the organisation’s nationwide network of affiliated chambers.
If you’re a sceptic of the quality solicitors concept, then you’ll likely not be a fan of this either. In so many ways, I’m not surprised that this has failed to take off, given the deep-seated conservatism of the profession. But this wasn’t really that radical compared to some of the proposals that have been floating about over the last few years, some of which involved barristers essentially becoming home workers who congregated in ‘virtual’ chambers.