The Chambers

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0120100706

Radio 4 goes behind the elegant facades of legal London to meet the barristers, clerks and staff of one of the capital's leading Chambers as they prepare for the biggest upheaval in their history, the implementation of the 2007 Legal Services Act.

"If you're looking for somebody to fight on your side you're not looking for the biggest brain-on-a-stick in the world but who can't argue their way out of a bus queue.

You need somebody who's going to fight your corner!" Richard is a leading QC who's fought court battles in some of the highest profile cases of the past twenty years, and he reckons the changes will leave some more traditional people in the law reeling, and possible out of a job.

For his part, he's determined that his Chambers wont get left behind.

This is the context for two programmes that paint an intimate portrait of life behind the elegant faÃade of Outer Temple Chambers, to which Radio 4 was last year granted exceptional access.

From Barristers's Clerk Nick from Canvey Island, who joined Chambers at 18 - "what you see on the TV, the court stuff, it's not what actually goes on behind closed doors.

In the backroom, it's hard work!" - to Cara who's nine months pregnant; how will she balance the demands of her high powered life as a barrister with those of a new mother? "Anarchy will rule!"

And then there's Christine, Commercial Director: "I have a habit of being a thorn in the side of organisations; I can't help it.

If I see something that I think is wrong I just can't help myself.

And sometimes it's good, and sometimes it causes me more problems than I care to think about!"

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Following the barristers, clerks and staff of one of London's leading law chambers.

01*20090721

First of two programmes which go behind the elegant facades of legal London to meet the barristers, clerks and staff of Outer Temple Chambers, one of London's leading law chambers, as they prepare for the biggest upheaval in their history: the full implementation of the 2007 Legal Services Act.

Due to be fully implemented in 2012, the Act will produce greater competition in who can provide legal services.

Many of the cosy arrangements of the past will be swept away, and barristers will need to show that they can provide the service and value for money that the public wants.

Following the barristers, clerks and staff of one of London's leading law chambers.

02 LAST2009072820100713

The story of a top Chambers at the heart of Legal London as it prepares for wholesale change in the way lawyers' services are secured.

It's winter and snow is disrupting plans.

At Outer Temple Chambers, the new management structure is firmly in place and Commercial Director Christine is leading the work to get Chambers in shape for the implementation of the new Legal Services Act in a year's time.

Meanwhile Chambers' big winter PR social event at the Royal Courts of Justice is nearly scuppered by a taxi strike coinciding with a foot of snow.

Barrister Cara is back at work after maternity leave, but when her nanny is called back to Poland she finds herself struggling to juggle work and home.

New recruits are joining Chambers: Ali represents part of the business's ambitious plans for Middle East expansion while Michael's tax expertise is put to good use at a tribunal in Manchester.

On QC Richard's farm, spring arrives as his new role as Head of Strategic Development begins to take shape, while by July, the nerves of Chambers' Pupils (trainee barristers) are shredded as decision day for whether they're going to be kept on at OTC or unceremoniously 'let go' approaches.

At least it's summer and there's the annual party to look forward to.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Following the barristers, clerks and staff of one of London's leading law chambers.

02 LAST*20090728

The new management structure is firmly in place and commercial director Christine is leading the work to get Chambers in shape for the implementation of the new Legal Services Act.

Meanwhile, Chambers's big winter PR social event at the Royal Courts of Justice is nearly scuppered by a taxi strike coinciding with a foot of snow.

Barrister Cara is back at work after maternity leave, but when her nanny is called back to Poland she finds herself struggling to juggle work and home.

New recruits are joining Chambers: Ali represents part of the business's ambitious plans for Middle East expansion, while Michael's tax expertise is put to good use at a tribunal in Manchester.

On QC Richard's farm, spring arrives as his new role as head of strategic development begins to take shape, while by July, the nerves of Chambers's pupils (trainee barristers) are shredded as decision day approaches for whether they are going to be kept on or unceremoniously 'let go'.

But at least it's summer and there is the annual party to look forward to.

Following the barristers, clerks and staff of one of London's leading law chambers.