The Legal 500 recommends our clerks as “simply superb”, noting that they are “efficient, professional and personable.”
Lee Johnson (our Senior Clerk and a member of the senior management team) won the John Carter Trophy for finishing first in his year in the Clerks’ Qualifying Exams and four of our clerks are educated to degree level, two having read law. With over 100 years’ experience between them, they have all built up an excellent working knowledge of the relevant fields of law and the proceedings which arise in those fields.
The clerks operate in two teams, led by Lee Johnson and Tom O’Connor. This structure, which was devised directly in response to feedback from a client consultation exercise, gives greater continuity of case-handling and enhanced communication.
Joe Ralph is a member of the IBC Management Committee.
The Legal 500 notes that “excellent senior clerk Lee Johnson goes the extra mile, and is ably supported by a team that includes Tom O’Connor (‘[who is] quick to grasp the important issues of any case’).”
The team is also enhanced by Clare Sabido who is described by the Legal 500 as “a cut above other clerks” and who joined us in 2019 from another leading set.
We are committed to conscientious and commercial clerking: please see more about this here.
We are also known for our ability to provide emergency assistance on a round the clock basis.
Client care team
We have also built a dedicated client service team led by Catherine Calder, a solicitor with client relationship skills gained in the advertising industry and nearly 20 years’ experience of the Bar. Catherine, who is also our Joint Chief Executive, is described by Chambers & Partners as “seriously impressive and stunningly efficient”. The team also includes Isabel Biggs, described by the Legal 500 as a “name to note“.
We believe our bespoke team – and the insight and resource it allows us to devote to working in partnership with clients – to be unique at the Bar. We have made this investment to ensure that our service is always as strong as our legal expertise and because we wanted to build much closer, more strategic relationship with clients.
A client who is a partner in a national firm comments, “the vision in creating a dedicated client service team typifies the commitment to teamwork which is embedded in the whole set, barristers, clerks and staff alike”.
Our client care team works hand in hand with the clerking team.
What this means for CLIENTS
Our investment in a strong staff team gives us the resource to provide an outstanding service day to day.
It also allows us to take a more strategic approach: we strive to work in genuine partnership with our clients, seeking to be actively attentive and attuned to their needs. We put a great deal of work into client consultation: we find out what clients want and respond to that in a concrete way.
The Legal 500 reports that we have “a truly wonderful and deserved reputation, which stems from doing all the little things exceptionally well, as well as being able to handle all manner of larger tasks”.
Please contact our Joint Chief Exec and Director of Client Care, Catherine Calder, if you would like to discuss how we might put this approach into practice for you.
“The clerks are absolutely superb – they are so responsive and they get back to you if you need out-of-hours assistance, they are second to none.” “They are great – they move heaven and earth to help their clients, they keep in touch to see how they can help and are constantly checking in. They are genuinely doing a sterling job.” Lee Johnson, the senior clerk, is described as “a star,” and is praised for “caring about having a strong relationship between the clerks and solicitors.”
“The clerks are really great and will always go the extra mile to try to find someone suitable.”
“The clerks always respond really promptly and work very efficiently.” The set’s senior clerk, Lee Johnson, is “very accessible and hugely helpful on any issues.”
“They have always sorted us out, whatever time of day and the sort of case it is. Lee Johnson is always great in finding replacements where necessary.” “They are incredibly helpful and go the extra mile to assist. Tom O’Connor has been a huge help on many occasions.”
“Serjeants’ Inn is an accommodating set, and the senior clerk Lee Johnson always does his best to sort me out.” “Lee Johnson‘s clerking is spot on: he always comes back to you and will find someone for your case – and not just anyone, but the right person with the right experience.” “We were impressed with Natasha Southgate.”
“The clerking is very good and efficient; they will find you a barrister very quickly and send you a list of counsel who are available.” “Lee Johnson, the senior clerk, is very quick to come back to you and does so when you haven’t chased him.” “Lee is always very accommodating, but at the same time is open and honest with us in terms of what can or cannot be done.”
Clients also note that Catherine Calder, the joint chief executive, is “an excellent director of client care – she regularly asks for feedback to improve the level of service provided, which is already exceptionally high.” Her dedicated client care team also includes the well-respected Isabel Biggs.
“Catherine Calder is so impressive in the way she manages her team, and she does an excellent job of introducing new clients to the barristers.”
Chambers & Partners 2022
‘Lee Johnson doesn’t even need to give his name on the phone, his reputation precedes him.‘
‘An approachable and helpful set of clerks.‘
‘Lee Johnson is extremely resourceful in urgent and complex cases, moving anything he can to get the right barrister in place for your case, and keeping you updated every step of the way – an absolute professional.‘
‘Simply second to none when it comes to Court of Protection work. Lee Johnson is the man for the job when the bullets start flying.’
‘They always provide a good service. Lee Johnson in particular is always very helpful and proactive.’
‘The clerks at this set are very easy to work with.‘
‘The clerks are polite, professional and very efficient. They come back to you quickly with any queries you need answering, and will do all they can to help.‘
‘Very approachable and helpful clerks.‘
‘The clerks always go beyond the call of duty to support us.‘
‘Senior clerk Lee Johnson ensures a smooth service from chambers.‘
‘The clerks know their barristers and understand the clients. Lee Johnson, Joe Ralph, Natasha Southgate and Tom O’Connor stand out as approachable, knowledgeable and reliable. Meelis Malgand is also really helpful in arranging IT solutions.’
‘I think it is well run and efficient. Lee Johnson is particular is organised, friendly and helpful.’
‘Uniformly excellent service from Lee Johnson and his clerking team.’
‘The clerking services are excellent. Jennifer Pooler and Clare Sabido are particularly good.’
‘I think it is well run and efficient. Lee Johnson is particular is organised, friendly and helpful.’
‘Lee Johnson as Head Clerk is always professional, personable and accommodating – he is very adept at matching needs with skills.’
‘Absolutely superb clerking team headed by the remarkable Lee Johnson, who is always such a pleasure to deal with, has a wealth of experience, and will always go above and beyond to assist. Catherine Calder is also a fabulous asset.’
‘Catherine Calder works tirelessly. She is fantastic.’
The Legal 500 2022
“The clerking team is excellent, and they know this market inside out.” “The senior clerk, Lee Johnson, leads the team brilliantly. He’s a fantastic clerk and he has a real understanding of the cases and the needs of the instructing solicitors. He will go to the ends of the earth to make sure what we need to happen, happens.” “The clerks are all very approachable and provide a seamless service.”
“The clerks are responsive and always happy to help – nothing is too much trouble.” “The clerks always assist where they can and are good at keeping us updated with issues if they arise. They are very supportive and approachable.” “The chambers as a whole is extremely well run, and the clerks have been very helpful in solving issues involving conference calls and video conferences.” Lee Johnson is the senior clerk. He is assisted by Joe Ralph, who is “brilliant and takes the time to learn about his barristers’ practices. He listens in to webinars and gets to know the work inside out, proving a great support to the solicitors he works with.”
“The clerking is excellent, and an approachable and seamless service has been provided during the difficult period of lockdown.” “The senior clerk Lee Johnson is always willing to assist and will go the extra mile.” “I have been extremely impressed with Lee Johnson: his client service is brilliant. He is very organised, very responsive and builds a strong relationship with instructing solicitors.”
“The clerking service is excellent. The clerks are communicative, helpful and well organised.” “The speed of response is very good, and the clerks are proactive and all over the paperwork and the details.” “The set’s use of technology is fantastic and really helps bring cases to life.” The senior clerk is Lee Johnson.
“They are well organised and they have a strong team. Very well clerked.” “Lee Johnson is one of the best – a sensible leader who manages his barristers and their diaries really effectively. Tom O’Connor always gets the right person for the job; he is affable and a pleasure to work with.”
The “absolutely fantastic” Catherine Calder is the joint chief executive and leads the set’s client care team. According to commentators she “has thoroughly modernised the set” and “deserves a lot of the credit for turning chambers into one of the country’s leading clinical negligence offerings.” Along with her client care manager, “the always helpful and proactive” Isabel Biggs, she “has proved excellent at bringing people together for networking purposes and giving Serjeant’s Inn an exceptional social media presence.” “She is a real driving force who has shifted the whole set up a gear.”
Chambers & Partners 2021
“The clerks are all very approachable and amenable – they run a really tight ship.” “The clerking is very good and the team is always willing to work hard to deliver what is asked.” “The clerks are so conscientious – they’ll go to the end of the earth to do what they need to do and can just pick up the phone and talk about any issue.” “They’re all extremely helpful and always able to find counsel at the last minute.” “The chambers is very well organised and the clerks are very accommodating. You can go to them with any issues and they’ll sort things out.“ Lee Johnson is the senior clerk.
“The clerking team is well organised and responsive, and the clerks are all willing to go the extra mile.” “The clerks have a really good knowledge of their barristers and know who is good for which case. They can offer appropriate alternatives and get fees notes very quickly.” “It’s a great team to have in your corner for urgent matters – the set’s strong relationship with the listings office is a huge asset.”
“Senior clerk Lee Johnson is always on the ball and very efficient.” “Lee is an absolute asset to Serjeants’ Inn. He’s extremely friendly, organised and responsive and goes out of his way to make life easy for solicitors.” “The clerks are well organised, responsive and willing to go the extra mile.”
“An outstanding set of chambers whose clerking service is to be applauded. Without exception, the clerks are always very willing to assist, working under the expert guidance of the senior clerk, Mr Lee Johnson.” “Extremely good customer service from the clerks. They will go out of their way in order to assist and have been particularly helpful in lodging papers with the courts at the last minute.”
“Very professional and easy to deal with.”
“The clerks always respond to requests in a prompt fashion and make it easy to prepare for and run hearings.” “The clerks are brilliant at assigning cases to the people with the right expertise, which is no mean feat as they cover a lot of fields and niche areas.”
“The clerks and other staff are always helpful, and Catherine Calder, the joint chief executive is a joy to work with.”
Chambers & Partners 2020
‘The great group of clerks provides top-draw service at all times‘, while ‘senior clerk Lee Johnson is eminently sensible and reasonable, and always willing to discuss brief fees‘.
The Legal 500 2020
“The clerks are very responsive, very easy to deal with and well organised.” “They are really well clerked and good at getting back to you.” Lee Johnson, the senior clerk, is reported to be “very efficient” and “always willing to help.”
“The clerks are very helpful, responsive and able to find a barrister even at extremely short notice.” “The clerking team is brilliant, they’re always very helpful and collaborative, and understand the types of issues instructing solicitors will face.”
“The clerks are helpful and accommodating.” Commentators further praise the clerking team’s “ability to always deliver a prompt and efficient service.”
“It’s a very slick set-up. The clerking is good, they come back promptly and are very obliging. When you walk in, the chambers presents a real sense of professionalism and you feel you are being taken care of in a proper way.” “Very, very responsive.” Clients appreciate that senior clerk Lee Johnson “always refers the right barrister for the level of complexity in the case.”
“The clerks are approachable, accessible and responsive. They focus on building long-term relationships and it works.” “The clerks are all very helpful and accommodating.”
Chambers & Partners 2019
Joint chief executive Martin Dyke is responsible for operational management and deals with strategic and business planning alongside co-CEO Catherine Calder. The ‘inimitable’ Calder leads the ‘fabulous’ dedicated client care team, which ‘sets chambers apart from the market as a modern and forward-thinking set’ giving it ‘an edge over competitors when it comes to helping both lay clients and instructing solicitors with their needs’. Calder is supported by client care manager Isabel Biggs, and as a team they ‘go out of their way to enhance the relationship between chambers and its clients’. Solicitors say chambers ‘made an incredibly shrewd move investing in this arm of its business’ and it has been ‘money, time, and effort well spent’. Not to be outdone, the ‘helpful, honest, and approachable’ clerks’ room, which also ‘goes above and beyond’ for clients, is led by senior clerk Lee Johnson, with one solicitor admitted ‘the reason a lot of our work goes there is because of how Johnson manages everything’. Also in the team, Tom O’Connor is ‘responsive and pulls out all the stops to provide a reliable service’. New faces in the clerking team include Clare Sabido and Natasha Southgate.
The Legal 500 2019
Serjeants’ Inn is well noted for its “efficient and approachable” clerking team, with particular praise reserved for their “very accommodating” approach to instructions. Sources describe the clerks as “prompt communicator” who are “unfailingly helpful,” and say they will “move heaven and earth” to help find the right barrister for a case, whilst also demonstrating flexibility on fee discussions and diary arrangements. The “marvelous” senior clerk Lee Johnson is especially well regarded for being “very approachable” and “exceptionally helpful,” with one source heralding him as “one of the best senior clerks of his generation”.
“They are really flexible and accommodating.” “The clerking is very efficient. All the individuals are extremely friendly and helpful.” Lee Johnson is the senior clerk, and is noted for being “a marvellous chap who really knows what he’s talking about.”
“The clerks are always polite and courteous – they get back to you really quickly. It makes our job a lot easier.” “They’re one of my favourite teams. They remember you and are very personable, so you feel comfortable picking up the phone to discuss fees without it being awkward. It makes it a lot easier.” Lee Johnson leads a clerking team, which includes the “fantastic” Tom O’Connor, who “really can’t do enough for you.”
“Great clerking and service. They are very organised and the training they offer is great.” Senior clerk Lee Johnson is “very easy to work with and very approachable. Also, he is responsive to problems.”
“The clerking is a very smooth operation, quite pioneering from a business point of view. They are ahead of the curve and well run but they don’t sacrifice the human element.” Senior clerk Lee Johnson collects praise from interviewees for “taking the time to get to know you as a person, rather than just focusing on the details.”
“The clerks are good and easy to work with. They are prompt at responding to queries.” “The clerks are always very helpful. If you need something, they will do it.”
Sources are also quick to praise the positive influence of Catherine Calder as director of client care, crediting her with “focusing the direction of the chambers and raising the profile of the strong clinical negligence team.” On her watch the set has developed a bespoke client care team, something unique to the Bar. The team is able to offer clients advice regarding joint business issues such as expansion and mergers. It further provides them with assistance when it comes to PR and media handling.
Chambers & Partners 2018
Client care director Catherine Calder and chambers’ business director Martin Dyke have been promoted to joint chief executives; described as ‘a marvel’, Calder has ‘set new standards in client care and is to be highly commended for the results she has achieved in recent years’. And as another solicitor said: ‘You know from the first point of contact with them that you’re in safe hands and they are expert at what they do.’ The clerks’ room ‘has always been strong’ and has a ‘great understanding of solicitor needs and time pressures’. There isn’t a solicitor around who doesn’t know ‘brilliant’ senior clerk Lee Johnson who ‘can be relied upon for a personal touch’. Tom O’Connor supports Johnson ‘extremely ably and you always get a sensible, friendly and efficient service from [him]’. Jennifer Pooler stands out as being ‘incredibly hardworking but always responsive and approachable’. Client care manager Isabel Biggs is another name to note.
The Legal 500 2018
The quality clerking team at Serjeants’ Inn Chambers is known to be “very friendly, well-organised and always happy to assist with finding a barrister at the last minute.” This “co-operative, helpful and responsive” team is noted for being particularly easy to deal with and highly approachable. Commentators direct praise at the set’s “absolutely brilliant” Lee Johnson, a “lovely and down-to-earth” senior clerk with a “solution-orientated” approach.
Senior clerk Lee Johnson oversees a strong clerking team. “They are extremely calm and resourceful.”
The clerks receive praise for their responsiveness and for their immediate resolution of any issues that arise. One interviewee stated: “The clerks are amazing. They go above and beyond and they strive to assist as much as they can.”
“The clerking is absolutely brilliant – they’re my favourite clerks, actually. They’re always very good at responding, they get back to you immediately and they go above and beyond to sort something out.” The “absolutely brilliant” Lee Johnson is the senior clerk, and popular amongst those who instruct the set.
“Approachable, amenable and quick at responding.” “Very professional and organised, but also personable.” Senior clerk Lee Johnson leads the clerking team, and is described by clients as “lovely, down-to-earth and highly efficient.”
Lee Johnson‘s team of clerks are extremely well thought of by interviewees, with one source saying: “The service is second to none.” Another praises them as being “flexible, approachable and responsive,” while one source comments that “the clerks are superb – the good working relationship between them and counsel is reflected in the quality of service you get.”
In addition, the group is commended for its ability to put on excellent training sessions, and the director of client care, Catherine Calder, is singled out for praise: “she is seriously impressive and stunningly well-organised. She is one of those people you want to hire for any job and is just worth her weight in gold.”
Interviewees also comment on the set’s impressive premises at 85 Fleet Street, particularly highlighting the integration of technology into the fabric of the building. One source acknowledges that this use of technology “sounds like a small thing, but is really important and makes a big difference to a lay client.”
Chambers & Partners 2017
The set provides ‘a gold-standard service’ through ‘very approachable’ counsel and ‘top-quality clerks’. For example, ‘excellent’ senior clerk Lee Johnson ‘runs a tight ship’ and provides ‘unwavering support’. His team includes Tom O’Connor.
The addition of client care director Catherine Calder in 2014 was ‘a significant move for chambers and has brought the set much more up to date’. Completing the senior management team alongside Calder and Johnson, chambers’ business director Martin Dyke is also recommended. For one solicitor, this is ‘the most efficient and helpful of all sets I use’; ‘the approach is friendly yet professional and everyone will do what they can to assist clients’.
The Legal 500 2017
‘Charming’ director of client care Catherine Calder should be ‘particularly praised for the way in which the set has developed’; some say that, since she joined in 2014, ‘the efficiency and approachability has markedly improved’. Calder works closely with the ‘simply superb’ clerks, who ‘have that canny knack of getting the right brief for the right barrister, which leads to great results and leaves the solicitors and lay clients extremely happy’. Furthermore, ‘they answer queries promptly’ and ‘provide a trustworthy working relationship’. ‘Excellent’ senior clerk Lee Johnson ‘goes the extra mile’, and is ably supported by a team that includes Tom O’Connor (‘quick to grasp the important issues of any case’).
The Legal 500 2016