23 January 2019

Bar Council revolutionises membership

Legal profession disruption leads Bar Council of England and Wales to open up its membership.

The Bar Council of England and Wales has opened membership to chambers and individuals. The move aims to reflect changes due to the impact of disruption in the legal profession.

Training access

Feedback from chambers staff, including clerks and managers, solicited from the council revealed broader demand for access training courses and events previously open only to barristers. The Bar Council said it hopes the new annual chambers membership will encourage greater take-up of the specialist courses it puts together, for example on data protection law. The membership package also includes training on anti-money laundering, equality and diversity, practice management and direct access work. Prices range from £3,000 for a standard membership to £5,950 for a gold membership.

Greater relevance

Council chief executive Malcolm Cree said the move is part of the Bar Council’s drive to work more closely with chambers to 'strengthen and better support and promote the profession'. The membership package was developed in collaboration with members of the Legal Professionals Management Association (LPMA). In a joint statement, LPMA co-chairs Catherine Calder and Robin Jackson said ‘The LPMA is pleased to see this initiative being put into place: it has been developed through close consultation with the profession and brings greater currency and relevance to the services offered to individual barristers and now, importantly, to the chambers in which they practice.’