Cobwebsites and the Bar

November 7, 2007

The survey shows that many sets are failing to take full advantage of their websites to publicise their achievement – and, surprisingly, almost 1 in 3 of these prominent sets either lacked a news page altogether or had pages that were badly out-of-date.


One third of the sets which won a Chambers Bar Award did not mention this at all on their website, or had buried their announcement so that visitors would be unlikely to see it.


Two sets, 11 KBW and Essex Court Chambers were rated as ‘excellent’ in the survey, because they gave a high profile to the award and plenty of supporting detail highlighting its importance to clients.  A further 10 sets also clearly featured their Chambers Bar Award on the home page although, in each case, modest changes could have improved presentation; these were:  3 Serjeants Inn; 4 Pump Court; 6 Kings Bench Walk; 12 Kings Bench Walk; 39 Essex Street; Exchange Chambers; Keating Chambers; One Brick Court; One Essex Court; and Radcliffe Chambers.


The remaining 10 sets had more scope to improve or had missed this opportunity altogether or failed to provide any up-to-date news.  For example: 


  •  Several home pages mentioned awards from 2004 or 2005, with no reference to their 2007 Chambers Bar Award or other more recent achievements 

  •  3 sets had no news page at all

  •  4 other sets have badly out-of-date news pages (for example with just one or two items from 2007, or in another instance, the top item dating from 2001) 

  •  3 sets buried their news pages several clicks away from the home page, making it unlikely that visitors would get that far.


Gerald Newman of LawComms commented:  ‘Even barristers cannot afford to let their websites become cobwebsites.  Sets should ensure that someone has the time, opportunity, and skill to utilise their vast resources of raw material to provide attractive online news and content to help keep their reputation ahead of the competition’.


Lest we be accused (not unreasonably!) of focusing entirely on the negative, it should be mentioned that the winners of the Chambers Bar Awards in the Information Technology category were 4 Pump Court (sets), Daniel Alexander QC of 8 New Square (silks) and Alex Charlton of 4 Pump Court (juniors). But, reverting to negativity, not one of the winners sent out a press release to SCL.