The Barrister’s clerk is the essential component in a Barristers successful career. A good clerk can make (or break) a successful career and the nature of this symbiotic relationship is well understood in legal circles. Whilst the stereotype of today’s barrister is one of intelligence, high IQ and a privileged background, that of the clerk is unfairly seen as the backroom broker, the uneducated, the wheeler dealer. It remains of interest that nothing can be further from the truth at the modern Bar. Successful Chambers employ clerks from a diversity of backgrounds and recruit Barristers from all walks of life. The rich tapestry of society is now reflected in many Chambers through their staff and tenants.
The relationships between Counsel and Clerks transcends the norms of an employee/employer relationships and a good clerk is a broker, financier, mentor, counselor and friend. Those who have had a successful relationship with their clerk, particular their senior clerk know that individual success is the clerks’ own success and manifests itself as chambers success. There still remain however a well-known clerking phrase and that is “when a barrister is busy it’s because they are brilliant, when they are quiet it’s because their clerk isn’t doing enough”. This may require further analysis of the role of the perception of the modern day clerk.
From a mortgage broker perspective, senior clerks can be more important than accountants. In applying for a Barristers mortgage, the accountant can talk to the accounts, but no-one can talk to the practice development as good as a senior clerk. In projecting a Barristers future income, clerks are there to help but are governed by the strict ethics and code of the clerk. Clerks have a history to say it as it is, and whilst they look to assist, they will not over egg a pudding, knowing they will be called upon again and shortly to support another tenant’s mortgage application.
A clerk as well as making (or breaking) a career can also be a useful ally, making (or breaking) a successful application for mortgage finance.