The Legal Cheek View
Hardwicke is an unstuffy and modern set that is increasingly geared around commercial law. With a strong corporate identity and offices in Lincoln’s Inn that more closely resemble those of a City law firm than a chambers, this is a far cry from the fusty Inns of Court stereotype.
The set, which is led by chief executive Amanda Illing and joint heads PJ Kirby QC and Paul Reed QC, is becoming well known for international commercial litigation and arbitration, with many of its barristers working across different jurisdictions. Hardwicke also has specialisms in insurance, property, private client, professional negligence, and construction.
What The Junior Barristers Say
Nestled in between Chancery Lane and Lincoln’s Inn, and accessible through the Dickensian Bishop’s Court’s alley, Hardwicke’s environs are about as barristery as it gets.
So entering the set is something of a surprise. Rather than wood panels and portraits of great judges of yesteryear, the visitor finds themselves in what feels like a little piece of the City of London transported to the Inns of Court.
“Modern and functional,” is how one insider describes it, while another praises the “reassuringly expensive” décor. Internal bike racks and a table tennis table add a hipness rarely found in this part of town, while a full-time chef is on hand to cater for regular events.
Hardwicke’s barristers to a certain extent reflect the surroundings, with a number of former solicitors among a host of career changers. Those who come straight from bar school are notably down-to-earth types. “Basically there’s no ‘template’ for Hardwicke membership – if you have the capability to be a great barrister, there will be a place for you regardless of background,” says pupil barrister Simon Kerry, who spent four years as an accountant at PwC before switching to law.