Stephen Smith has been Chambers’ Senior Clerk since 1982, having started working for the set (formerly 4 Paper Buildings) in 1975. He was the youngest senior clerk in the Temple and is one of the most experienced and well-respected clerking professionals in London.
In addition to his oversight of the clerking team, Stephen devotes a considerable amount of time to client service and business development. In recent years Chambers has embarked upon a structured programme of development towards ensuring that it continues to meet client’s needs. Hailsham’s recent client care award is testament to Stephen’s success and his team’s commitment to ensuring that client’s expectations are met at every level.
What others say
Leading an ‘exemplary clerking team’ that is ‘second to none’, senior clerk Stephen Smith is ‘a wonder’, and ‘so helpful and ably assisted’ by deputy senior clerk Michael Kilbey, first junior Stuart Paley and second junior Jack Crowhurst. The clerks are careful to ‘identify appropriate counsel to provide expertise tailored to the individual client and matter needs’. The team is ‘very good at creating the illusion you are the only client they have.’
Legal 500 2019
Commentators report that the clerks at Hailsham Chambers are “sensitive to costs and responsive to problems, such as changes in timetables.” The “client service is of an excellent standard,” “What stands out is the flexibility and willingness of the whole team to be accommodating in order to meet requirements.” “They are very prompt at responding to emails and returning calls, they explore all options and they keep me informed and up to date with the barristers’ diaries,” “The clerks will go the extra mile to ensure that any queries or court issues are resolved.” “It’s amazing how approachable and accessible they are.”
“The clerks are very good and very easy to get on with.” “The clerks are very welcoming and very responsive.”
“The clerks are excellent: they answer calls quickly, check diaries, speak to barristers and organise billing efficiently. When I go to see them they make me feel very welcome.” “The clerks, led by Stephen Smith, will go the extra mile to ensure that any queries or court issues are resolved. They respond to correspondence in good time and they assist counsel very well.”
“The clerking is very good and they are very easy to deal with. They give added value in the talks they put on.”
Chambers UK 2019
The clerks, led by Stephen Smith, are always “helpful and attentive.”
“The clerks are all very helpful and friendly, doing as much as they can to assist with matters and managing diaries to help.”
Chambers UK 2018
Hailsham Chambers houses “‘the best clerks around’; ‘all are friendly and accommodating, and you always feel that they will do their best to help where they can’. Senior clerk Stephen Smith ‘doesn’t promise anything he can’t deliver and understands solicitors’”
Legal 500 2017
Hailsham Chambers is ‘a very strong set’ and ‘a personal favourite’ of many solicitors. It ‘attracts top-quality barristers’ ensuring ‘a really good spread of talent and expertise’, particularly in relation to clinical negligence, professional indemnity and costs work. Chambers is able to combine its ‘unrivalled knowledge and expertise’ with ‘excellent client care; the barristers come across as human to lay clients and so enhance what solicitors are trying to achieve in terms of providing a friendly and expert service’. ‘Nothing is too much trouble’ for the ‘exceptional clerks, whose USP is their very helpful and user-focused approach’.
Legal 500 2016
Hailsham Chambers attracts consistently high praise for its team of dedicated and experienced clerks. “Everyone is working in concert,” comments an interviewee, who makes particular mention of the set’s strong group of clerks.
Senior clerk Stephen Smith leads the “excellent clerking team” who ensure that “nothing is ever a problem.” One source goes so far as to say: “One of the reasons I use them is because their service is excellent. It is very helpful to have an administrative team that is always there.”
Chambers UK 2016
“The clerking team at Hailsham Chambers, led by Stephen Smith, is exceptionally good.”
“Stephen Smith’s tremendous experience ensures he has a good appreciation of what the job of a solicitor is like – it makes for a good working relationship.” Clients note: “Stephen Smith, Michael Kilbey and Richard Rodger are fantastic they don’t fob you off – they are good at telling you if people are too busy or if something isn’t someone’s forte.” The set is also commended for its excellent seminars, newsletters, pod casts and video-conferencing facilities.
Stephen Smith leads a team of clerks who are seen as being “efficient and approachable,” “very helpful” and “always keen to accommodate.” He “wins praise for being very business-like.”
Chambers UK 2015
“For some, ‘the clerks’ room is one of the best in the business – nothing is too much trouble’. Senior clerk Stephen Smith is ‘an effective manager who runs a good team’.”
“Stephen takes great pride in making sure that all aspects of the clerks room are run smoothly and efficiently.”
Legal 500 2014