Lexis Nexis Chambers of the Year 2024

This month, we sat down with Lisa Edmunds, Unit’s Head of Chambers and Senior Consultant Barrister (as well as CEO!), to ask her a few questions about her role as a leader in chambers and what that means to her.

  1. Briefly describe your role as Head of Chambers and your day-to-day duties.

As Head of Chambers at Unit, I undertake a multifaceted role. In my capacity as the leader of Unit Chambers, I oversee the overall management, strategic direction and governance of the business. I’m responsible for making critical business decisions, fostering collaboration among members and ensuring effective operations. I play a pivotal role in shaping the innovative approach of Unit Chambers, challenging traditional practices and steering Unit towards becoming a pioneering family law practice within the North West of England and beyond. In addition to my leadership role, I practice as one of the Senior Consultant Family Barristers in chambers. In this capacity, I leverage over two decades of experience and expertise in high-level and complex family law cases. I actively engage in providing legal services, strategic advice and specialised support to clients in family law matters. My dual role allows me to not only lead chambers but also directly contribute to its core legal practice.

2. What are the positive and negative aspects of the role?

As Head of Chambers, I have the opportunity to shape the direction and culture of Unit Chambers. My decisions directly influence the success and innovative approach of chambers which I thoroughly enjoy. Additionally, as a Senior Consultant Barrister I am actively engaged in my legal practice on a daily basis, utilising my experience to provide strategic advice and support to clients in family law.

My overall role involves challenging traditional practices, fostering innovation and steering Unit toward becoming a leading pioneer in family law. Contributing to the evolution of the future of the family law is an element of my role that is incredibly motivating for me.

However, being Head of Chambers comes with significant responsibilities, including critical business decisions and overall management. The weight of these responsibilities can often be quite challenging and stressful. Moreover, as a business grows there will inevitably be growing pains, so one of my key objectives as a leader is to ensure that I continue to cultivate a team spirit amongst our team of self-employed and employed individuals, which can be tricky at times. Furthermore, implementing innovative practices and challenging traditions, especially at the Bar, can sometimes face resistance. Navigating the changes that I am so passionate about sometimes means I encounter obstacles and which has meant that I’ve had to work on developing adept communication and leadership skills.

3. What do you see as your biggest challenges?

As the legal landscape evolves, our commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements stands as both a challenge and a strategic imperative. Technology has become an integral part of day-to-day legal practice, influencing everything from case management to client communication. At Unit Chambers, we recognise the need to continually adapt to emerging technologies, ensuring that our practices remain efficient, secure and aligned with industry best practices. Moreover, we acknowledge the importance of placing the focus on family law and prioritising the well-being of families and children amid legal proceedings. While technology enhances our operational efficiency, we are acutely aware that the human element must never be overshadowed. Our challenge lies in striking the right balance between leveraging technology for streamlined legal services and maintaining the empathy, understanding and personal touch that family law demands.

In the broader context of challenges within the UK family law system, issues such as access to justice, legal aid cuts, and court delays present ongoing concerns. Ensuring that individuals have equitable access to legal resources and representation remains a pivotal challenge. Additionally, advocating for systemic improvements to address delays and inefficiencies within the family law courts is crucial for advancing justice and protecting the rights of families and children. By addressing these challenges head-on, Unit Chambers aims not only to lead in technological innovation within the legal field but also to champion the cause of family law, prioritising the needs and rights of families and children in the UK legal system.

4. What aspects of chambers are you most proud of?

Our journey has been marked by several achievements that reflect our unwavering commitment to excellence, growth and making a positive impact. One aspect that fills me with immense pride is our remarkable team growth. Over the past three years, we have transformed from a solo practitioner (me!) to a cohesive team of 24 dedicated professionals. This expansion not only underscores our success but also signifies the increasing demand for our specialised family law services (I’m also pretty proud of winning the Lexis Nexis Chambers of the Year award this year too – that was a big milestone for us!).

Remaining the sole barristers chambers specialising in family law in the North West of England is another source of pride. This distinction positions us as pioneers in the region, serving as a testament to our unique expertise and unwavering focus on family law matters. It speaks to our dedication to filling a crucial niche in the legal landscape, ensuring that individuals and families in the North West have access to top-tier family law representation.

Moreover, I take great pride in the profound impact our barristers make in the lives of our clients. Each day, our team adheres to our Client Promise, going above and beyond to deliver exceptional legal services with empathy, dedication, and a client-centric approach. We don’t just navigate legal complexities; we make a tangible difference in the lives of those we serve, providing support and resolution during challenging times. Our commitment to changing perceptions surrounding family law is a core aspect of our identity. We actively work to demystify legal processes, foster understanding, and redefine the narrative around family law matters. By prioritising transparency, communication and compassionate representation, we aim to reshape the way individuals perceive and experience family law services.

In essence, what I am most proud of is not just the growth of our team or our unique position in the legal landscape but the positive transformations we bring to the lives of our clients and the broader community. It’s about embodying our values, pioneering change, and setting new standards of excellence in family law

5. What are your immediate short-term goals?

Our immediate short-term goals at Unit Chambers revolve around the continuous development and support of our existing team. We are deeply invested in nurturing the growth of each of our team members, empowering them to excel in their individual legal practices within the realm of family lawand their own unique career paths. By providing tailored support, training and mentorship, we aim to foster an environment where our barristers and employed team members can thrive and reach their full potential. One of our top priorities is ensuring that our team remain loyal to our foundation of positive behaviour and respectful conduct, treating everyone (barristers or members of our Support Team alike) with the respect they deserve. This is to align with our overarching goal to eliminate the sense of entitlement and hierarchy that exists within the majority of chambers.

Additionally, we are actively exploring opportunities to expand and enhance our service offerings. This includes a strategic focus on incorporating other forms of legal work into our practice. TOLATA (Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act), modern families, early neutral evaluation and mediation are areas where we see potential opportunities with our existing expertise. By diversifying our practice areas, we aim to provide comprehensive and integrated solutions to our clients, ensuring that their evolving needs are met with excellence. Our commitment to staying at the forefront of legal innovation and adapting to the changing landscape of family law remains unwavering. Through these short-term goals, we strive not only to strengthen our internal capabilities but also to broaden the scope of our services, offering a holistic approach to legal support for individuals and families facing diverse challenges. In essence, our immediate focus is on the growth and development of our team members and the strategic expansion of our service offerings to better serve our clients and the community.

6. Where do you see the Unit Chambers ten years from now?

In envisioning the future of Unit a decade from now, my aspirations are both ambitious and rooted in our commitment to excellence and innovation. Foremost, I see the continued evolution of Unit Lawas a fully integrated legal services firm. Our strategic direction involves expanding our offerings beyond traditional family law, incorporating a comprehensive range of legal services to provide clients with a one-stop solution for their diverse needs.

Our goal is to emerge as the go-to firm for all family law matters in the UK, leveraging our expertise and innovative approaches to set new standards in legal practice. As pioneers in reshaping the landscape of family law, we aim to lead not only through our commitment to respecting the tradition of the Bar but also by pushing boundaries interms of what we do and how we do it. This includes embracing and driving technological advancements.

From a technological perspective, we anticipate being at the forefront of innovation. Embracing cutting-edge technologies and digital solutions will be integral to our operations. I envision a future where technology enhances accessibility, efficiency, and the overall client experience.

Crucially, our vision extends beyond professional success to making a lasting impact on the legal profession and the communities we serve. We strive to be recognised not only for our legal expertise but also for our dedication to social responsibility, inclusivity, and the well-being of our team and clients. In summary, my vision for Unit a decade from now is of a dynamic, integrated legal services firm leading the way in family law, celebrated for its innovation and technological prowess.

7. What legacy, as Managing Partner, would you like to leave the firm?

As the CEO of Unit Chambers, my vision for the legacy of our firm is deeply intertwined with the principles that have driven our journey. I aspire to leave a legacy marked by innovation, inclusivity, and excellence in the practice of family law. A key aspect of this will be our commitment to social responsibility and inclusivity. I envision Unit as a trailblazer in fostering a diverse and supportive environment, not just within our team but also in the legal profession more generally. Our legacy should reflect a deep dedication to social impact, contributing positively to the communities we serve.

In terms of professional achievements, I aim to leave behind a firm that is widely recognised as the go-to destination for family law matters in the UK. Our legacy should be built on a foundation of legal excellence, strategic thinking, and a client-centric approach that consistently delivers outstanding results. Moreover, I want our legacy to extend beyond the confines of traditional legal practice. By nurturing the next generation of legal professionals and providing a platform for continuous learning, I hope to contribute to the broader development of the legal profession.

Ultimately, the legacy I aim to leave as CEO is one where Unit Chambers stands as a beacon of innovation, inclusivity, and excellence in family law. A legacy that not only respects the tradition of the Bar but propels it into a future where legal practice is synonymous with forward-thinking, adaptability, and a genuine commitment to making a positive impact.

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Lexis Nexis Chambers of the Year 2024

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