About St John’s Buildings
St John’s Buildings is one of the largest sets of barristers’ Chambers in the UK, with 237 members and 75 support staff across four cities. They have a proven reputation for quality advocacy and advisory services, supported by experienced and proactive clerking and administration teams. Their clients are spread nationally and range from the full spectrum of legal firms, insurance firms and high net worth individuals through to commercial enterprises and SMEs. They have a clear focus on business development and an ongoing investment in staff training.
The role of their clerks is to support and facilitate the practices of their barrister members by providing excellent administrative services including: diary bookings and management, obtaining papers and briefs, fee collection, meeting facilities, and in the more advanced roles: practice and business development through managing client relationships, nurturing the personal development of barristers and attracting new clients and contracts.
“We have been working closely with Damar for many years to bring in apprentices with the potential to become barristers’ clerks and fees clerks. They always listen to our needs and provide excellent support to the apprentices throughout their studies.”
How have your apprentices progressed in their roles and how has St John’s Buildings benefited from their performance?
Chambers has a long tradition of recruiting apprentices and developing talented and experienced clerks in-house. Currently, around 25% of our employees, in permanent roles, started their careers as apprentices. We have 5 – 6 apprenticeships underway at any one time across our four sites.
Our apprentices can progress in one of two directions; to become barristers’ clerks or to work in our Accounts team. Both areas offer long term and rewarding careers with plenty of opportunity for development and growth. Most become clerks with progression evident up to our most senior positions.
How have the qualification and training delivery been of benefit to your apprentices and how has this impacted your business?
The ability to earn and learn, while gaining a qualification has attracted individuals who are bright and keen to grow their knowledge, skills and abilities. Setting the right mind-set for continuous personal development has helped us to develop some of most talented employees.
What future plans do you have for your apprentices and how do you feel the training may support their future development?
We are in regular discussions with Damar on how the apprenticeship framework can support and tailor development within Chambers to ensure we are assessing up to date skills. Technological development in Chambers is becoming increasingly rapid and we are therefore keen to ensure our apprentices have and develop strong ICT skills and confidence to keep pace.
What advice would you give to other employers thinking about taking on an apprentice?
Recruiting apprentices with Damar brings the advantage of a partnership approach to learning and development, with additional support for welfare whenever needed. It’s a great way to bring in and nurture talent from individuals who, by the nature of the study, will become interested not just in their own roles, but in how and why your company operates the way it does, which results in an increase in engagement and loyalty.
What, in particular, has stood out as being ‘exceptional’ about your apprentices or has ‘added real value’ to the team?
Recruiting apprentices has enabled us to attract a diverse pool of candidates, with varied backgrounds, experience, interests and strengths. It has been a pleasure to watch people from very different backgrounds come together, find common ground and goals and deliver great results for Chambers and its members.