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Richmond Chambers Immigration Barristers become first barrister-only chambers to achieve ABS status

We are pleased to announce that Richmond Chambers has become the first barrister-only chambers in the UK to gain an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) licence.  This news has already been featured widely in The Law Society Gazette, Legal Futures and Solicitors Journal.

Under the licence, The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will regulate our chambers as an entity, while individual barristers within will continue to be bound by the barrister’s code of conduct.

Based in Covent Garden, London, Richmond Chambers specialises in all aspects of UK immigration law. Established by Paul Richmond, we currently have two other barristers – including Sarah Giddens, the ABS’s head of legal practice – and three paralegals. Our three barristers have nearly thirty years of experience between them practising at the independent bar.

The ABS licence will be used by Richmond Chambers to attract both clients and aspiring members of the immigration bar who are interested in a different business model to the traditional barristers’ chambers. Chambers will also become an LLP on 5th July.

Four key factors underpin our decision to seek ABS status:

Our principal barrister, Paul Richmond, said that: ‘Whilst international clients are attracted to the opportunity of seeking advice and representation from the bar, many are more comfortable instructing a regulated entity rather than a regulated individual.’

‘Practising as an ABS has enabled us to offer our international clients the protection of two regulatory regimes – a barrister regulated by the Bar Standards Board, practising from a chambers that is regulated by the SRA.’

The new status of Richmond Chambers assures members of the bar, including new entrants to the profession, the independence and flexibility that they have traditionally enjoyed, combined with the collaborative working, career growth and job security found in a progressive law firm.

The new ABS status has also enabled us to introduce a team of managing partners, who are able to provide a strategic decision-making capacity and direction that would not otherwise be present.

Additionally, being an ABS has allowed us to bring a non-lawyer with financial management experience to our management team. The legal market is in a state of flux, yet this ensures ‘the financial stability of Chambers in its early years, as well as its successful growth and development in the longer term’, says Mr Richmond.

We have already seen a positive impact in terms of the development of Chambers through the process of its establishment as an ABS, and ensuring compliance with a new regulatory regime:

‘The process has enabled us to drive up standards of client care, in accordance with our already established commitments, and facilitated the establishment of a progressive working environment, in which our immigration barristers utilise a range of innovative cloud-based case management and communication systems in order to ensure that we are constantly in touch with our clients and their cases.’

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