24 December 2020

Despite the obvious challenges of this year to all in our legal community we have come through and no small thanks to our valued instructing solicitors and loyal clients.

Despite Covid, Chambers has continued to thrive and develop in a very positive way. Here is a little end of year round up of our news.

Following our postponed AGM in mid October Richard Thompson and Sally Collins stepped down after 5 years as joint Head of Chambers. We are delighted that the irrepressible Gavin Button (well known to you all) has been appointed to take over this important role.

As with all such changes at the top we have had our own “cabinet re-shuffle” with team leaders now comprising, Joanne Jenkins for Family, Stephen Robinson for Crime, Neil Cameron remains for Civil and Dale Brook leads Regulatory. Gail Farrington leads the specialist Financial Remedy Team within Family. Julia Baggs continues in her role on management with Rebecca Miller, Michele Stuart-Lofthouse and Kathrine Kioko-Gilligan also taking on important roles in Compliance, Pupillage and Equality and Diversity respectively.

In summer Wayne Stevens joined us to lead our clerking team. He has proven to be a whirlwind in terms of enthusiasm and new ideas. Most importantly he brings more than 20 years’ experience to the clerks room and is continuing to develop this fundamental senior clerk role to a new level so as to meet the ever increasing demand for barrister input in our busy legal community. We were also thrilled when friend to Chambers, Sharon Andrews, joined us this year to become our Family Clerk. She joined us from the Hull Combined Court and was already a familiar, friendly face to all family lawyers in our area.

Despite the challenges of Covid we have continued to expand in the clerking room and were also delighted when Janet Jackson (a former colleague in Leeds of senior clerk Wayne) was recruited to support the Family and Fees clerking team. Janet has very quickly got to know all of our regular solicitors and is developing a reputation for her “can do” approach in this role. We also have Lewis Richardson as Junior Criminal Clerk who has become a valuable asset to us, training and working alongside Wayne on a daily basis.

Finally, we must not forget our wonderful support staff who have come through the many challenges of 2020 by our side. They are of course, Diane Law on reception, Angela Doughty in accounts and Gareth Bayston in office administration. We sadly said goodbye to our wonderful Christine Moss who “insisted” on finally retiring (a second time after returning to help us out during busy time) after over 30 years of loyal service to Chambers at the end of Summer.

Other positive news from 2020
Chambers has been recognised through several key members on The Legal 500 this year. Michele Stuart-Lofthouse and Joanne Jenkins have brought this tremendous accolade to Chambers through their excellent advocacy skills.
Earlier this month Chambers received the news that there had been successes in the Criminal Team CPS 2020 upgrade applications. Michele Stuart-Lofthouse is now a Grade 4 prosecutor, with Michael Masson now Grade 2 and our newest tenants, Chloe Ogley and Amber Hobson wasting no time in getting their foot on the ladder with their approval for Grade 1 already achieved.

In the New Year we are joined by Rob Hastie, a very experienced local solicitor and recent transferee to the Bar who will be practising in commercial property law. A few weeks later, from mid February, Rachel Woad will become part of our Family Team. Rachel was a senior solicitor at Hull City Council and will now bring her significant experience to represent local authorities, parents and the children themselves.

Merry Christmas all!
As mentioned at the beginning we are incredibly grateful for the collaborative and supportive manner in which we have been able to work with our instructing solicitors during Covid. Your support for Chambers has been wonderful and we hope that we have been there for you when you have needed us.

We are signing off for now but in the meantime do hope you all have a lovely, well earned break. We will definitely be celebrating with you all in the proper manner in 2021!

All the best from everyone at Wilberforce!