PegasusMRA support model for barristers chambers

Face the future with confidence

Given the palpable effects of the financial recession; the changing regulatory landscape; changes in legal funding and changing client needs it’s more important than ever that the chambers business model is properly structured, organised and relevant for its clients and for its members moving forward.

Those chambers that are not re-thinking or honing their business model will find increasing pressure upon instruction and work levels, profitability and member returns, as a result of a crowded legal market which is being extended by the increase in ABS providers.

Chambers, therefore, need to take a more strategic and holistic view of their business models and profiles generally – as to where they see their future – perhaps along a spectrum of options:

A conventional referral model;

  • A ‘pick-n-mix’ of traditional referral work, public access and/or conducting litigation;
  • As a mainstream direct/public access chambers; or
  • As part of a joint law firm/chambers model.

For instance, it is our experience that few chambers currently have a clear understanding of the potential and opportunity being offered by public access and the conduct of litigation. The key to this understanding will be how to plan, market and leverage these areas (and other similar) opportunities within the unique culture of each chambers.

As specialist providers of personalised and targeted strategic and organisational consultancy services and training to chambers, PegasusMRA consistently finds that when professional people can face the future with confidence, it has a profound and positive effect on their individual well-being, confidence and performance. This positive individual effect then reflects upon the brand of chambers as a whole.

Therefore, the benefits of boosting certainty, confidence, energy, drive and determination cannot be overstated.

The PegasusMRA team has a unique range of skills and experience honed from working within and for chambers, which enables them to proactively and effectively facilitate and support this strategic planning process.

Please Contact us to discuss your needs. You can also download a copy of our Strategic Planning Model.

The PegasusMRA model of the strategic planning process for chambers is:

Stage 1 – The review process

Where are we now?

The future of your chambers starts here.

The essential first step is to establish and draw a clear and unbiased picture of the current position of chambers within the market.

Heads of chambers, management committees etc., are the natural ports of call – but these are only partial views. Other members of chambers may and will often feel disenfranchised and pockets of dissatisfaction or dissent can fester.

It would, of course, be unrealistic to expect all members of chambers to be of one mind – but the process of identifying the issues, challenging pre-conceptions and giving members (and especially clerks) a voice helps create buy-in. There will always, for instance, be distinct differences in aspirations and needs within individual practice areas.

The review process should, therefore, look carefully at the current culture, organisation and performance of chambers and individual teams within chambers through inclusive, purposeful, directed and informative reviews.

Key areas we will consider include:

  • Creating awareness – of the need for the strategic review process.
  • Creating clarity and purpose – developing clear aims and objectives for the review process.
  • Realism – a realistic assessment of the current position of chambers, its members and clerks.
  • Inclusiveness – of all levels within chambers so that all views are represented.
  • Identifying structural and/or behavioural constraints – bottoming out the reasons for these.

Stage 2 – Developing a clear and realistic strategy

Where do we want to get to?

Once we have assessed where you are, we need to know where you want to be.

Using practical and structured processes and models combined with objective, empathetic and independent facilitation skills, we can tease out your aspirations.

This stage must include a realistic assessment of the potential and shape of the legal market in the next three to five years and where your chambers can realistically fit into that picture.

An illustration of the need for a vision and a clear strategy has been the fragmented introduction of public access over the past 10 years. Chambers have not previously adopted a clear central policy for public access, instead allowing individual barristers to develop individual centres of excellence and different processes and procedures. Chambers has not, therefore, been able to fully leverage and exploit this largely underdeveloped market.

Of course, public access is not for all chambers and barristers. However, that decision should only be made strategically with the benefit of the input of all members and a clear idea of the chambers business model moving forward.

Undertaking this stage will bottom out and articulate aspirations which should then be fully tested for viability and practicality, especially when tested against the existing culture, resources and capabilities of chambers.

The key areas we review are:

  • The existing and future legal market – assessing the future potential for existing services and spotting potential new markets.
  • Identifying a clear vision, mission and objectives – a fully systematic/inclusive process.
  • What strategic direction and leadership will be needed – what will this actually mean for chambers and its future organisation, processes and systems?
  • Turnover and profitability levels – will these be sufficient to support the planned future needs of chambers and its members?
  • Risks – have the risks implicit in the new vision been fully identified and what (if any) processes and procedures will be needed?

Stage 3 – Organisational and strategic planning

How do we get there?

Having assessed where you are and where you want to go to, we need to know how we can take you to where you want to be.

Stages 1 and 2 are very important but are only the beginning as a clear strategic plan must then be developed.

A strategy is the route-map of how to implement the vision and/or objectives. The development of a clear, coherent and realistic plan, setting out clear steps, is a must moving forward.

Key to this plan will be the allocation of clear roles and responsibilities as well as developing a realistic time-line to which everybody must be committed.

Key areas in this stage are:

  • Working with and supporting members and clerks – to develop their understanding, confidence and buy-in into the strategic planning process.
  • Developing and changing with certainty – developing clear plans that are bought into and understood by everybody within chambers.
  • Chambers and team leadership – will this deliver the strategy – including identifying potential log-jams as well as potential talent?
  • Organisational structures – developing and then testing the on-going structure for chambers – will it deliver the strategy?
  • Team structures – developing appropriate networks, systems and processes to support, implement and deliver results at a tactical level?

Stage 4 – Implementation and follow-through

Through change and beyond, we’re supporting you along every step.

If you really want to ensure your chambers operates effectively as a business, and one that grows in line with its people, it’s essential that your strategy is effectively and properly implemented.

PegasusMRA provides ongoing support to chambers (and individuals) in the detailed implementation of strategies. Too often, having undertaken a large time and monetary investment in stages 1 to 3, strategies are not followed through due to a lack of resources, time or will. This may result in a reduced return on investment plus missing out on the opportunities identified within the strategy.

Through a range of facilitated interactions, developmental and coaching sessions as well as providing actual support in developing systems and processes, PegasusMRA provides valuable support to chambers in putting into action its plans, processes and systems – the follow through.

We can provide support within this stage by:

  • Developing coherent and practical implementation plans – these must be realistic with defined tasks, responsibilities and time-lines.
  • Facilitating discussions –to allow potentially sensitive issues or log-jams to be discussed, tackled and practical solutions found.
  • Guiding and supporting members, clerks and admin staff – by clarifying personal objectives and action plans and supporting them on an on-going basis.
  • Developing systems and processes – to underpin not only risk and regulatory requirements but also to increase efficiency, effectiveness and profitability.
  • Developing clear review steps and processes – by encouraging regular and open review processes to make sure that plans are ‘on track’.