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Amrit Kaur Dhanoa is Chair of the Young Barristers’ Committee (YBC). She will be giving a speech and chairing the session with the Lady Chief Justice at Bar Conference 2024. Amrit became YBC’s Chair because she wanted to play a greater role in ensuring young barristers’ voices are heard on a range of issues and that they feel confident that the YBC represents their needs and interests. Amrit feels it is essential that the YBC remains a vital voice for the Young Bar as they navigate those crucial early years and look forward to building successful practices.

A profile photo of Rachel Holmes


Rachel Holmes is responsible for the overall management of Matrix, including the development of client relationships, marketing strategy and day-to-day operations. She works closely with the practice managers to direct and develop the practices of Matrix barristers and to ensure that a consistently high-quality service is provided.  Rachel is a member of the Bar Council Chambers Management Panel and a member of the Advisory Board of the Managing Partners Forum. She is a former Chair of the LPMA.


Amrit and Rachel discuss how barristers, particularly the Young Bar, and chambers can make sure that their wellbeing is supported and careers progress when working remotely.

How can barristers ensure they are developing a good set of skills and professional relationships when working remotely?

Amrit: Barristers should maintain regular communication with members in chambers, clerks, and remain accessible to their clients. This can be via telephone, email, group chats amongst members for support or any legal related queries and utilising online video platforms to maintain face time. This will enable barristers to stay connected and develop strong relationships.

Attending Specialist Bar Association events, webinars, and virtual networking sessions can help enhance practice specific knowledge and skill sets while staying updated on legal developments. Additionally, seeking mentorship from senior practitioners for guidance and feedback, and actively building professional profiles through activities like writing articles, speaking engagements, and leveraging social media platforms such as LinkedIn, can further support career growth and development.

Rachel: Working remotely requires barristers to be more intentional about developing their skills and professional relationships, since it is less likely to happen organically as may be the case when working in an environment surrounded by other lawyers. Seek out and take advantage of online events, whether they’re training, business development, or social. Make an effort to touch in with your practice management team and with clients, online/over the phone if necessary, but ideally in person. Finally, whilst there are many benefits to working remotely, there are drawbacks too, so try not to work purely remotely if you can avoid it. If you can work in a hybrid way, make sure to introduce yourself/say hello to colleagues when you are in chambers, including more senior barristers (remember they were juniors once too).

Barristers in the early years of their careers report having issues with work-life balance when working remotely, what can they do to get the balance right and prevent burnout? What can chambers do to help?

Amrit: To achieve a better work-life balance whilst working remotely, barristers in their early years can:

  1. Establish boundaries – set clear boundaries between work and personal life by creating a designated workspace at home away from where they relax, avoid checking emails during non-work hours, and factoring in regular short breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. For example, taking a walk during your lunch break and leaving your phone at home.
  2. Practice self-care – it is important for barristers to have an interest outside of practice which should be factored into daily routines, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones, to maintain physical and mental wellbeing.

Chambers should foster open communication channels to enable barristers to feel comfortable discussing workload concerns, seeking support, or requesting additional resources as needed. They should also promote a culture of wellbeing within chambers by recognising and valuing a work-life balance and encouraging barristers to consider taking a break where they may have been working for a prolonged period.

By implementing these strategies, both barristers and chambers can work together to promote a healthier and more sustainable approach to remote working, ultimately reducing the risk of burnout and improving overall wellbeing.

Rachel: Particularly as a self-employed professional, it is important to take responsibility for striking a healthy balance between work and personal life. Remote working can make this more challenging but there are plenty of strategies that can help. Try treating your working day as you would if you were going into chambers – have a morning and evening routine (ideally including getting out of the house), and turn off/put away your computer at the end of the day. Also ensure you monitor your hours, whether working remotely or from a desk in chambers, and remember that wherever you work, sustaining long working hours is not possible over the long term.

If a barrister is feeling isolated, what can they do? Where can they find help?

Amrit: The Wellbeing at the Bar page on the Bar Council website contains a plethora of resources. It offers a confidential assistance helpline to help you deal with personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home life or work life, health, and wellbeing. LawCare is a mental wellbeing charity for the legal community and is staffed by lawyers and ex-lawyers. The volunteers therefore understand the particular challenges that those within the legal industry face. They also offer a confidential helpline to talk through any problems and can match you with a peer of similar experience who can offer one-to-one support, friendship and mentoring over the telephone.

Rachel: Start with prevention – seek out opportunities to be with colleagues and friends, or to talk over the phone. If opportunities to work or socialise with colleagues in chambers are limited, consider who you can reach out to, whether that’s friends outside of work, your practice management team, and/or a mentor, former supervisor, or chambers wellbeing/EDI officers. There are also dedicated helplines and organisations that can help, such as an Assistance Programme or LawCare

What can be done to ensure members of chambers are well supported when working remotely?

Amrit: Chambers can do the following:

  • Offer more frequent practice reviews, especially for barristers who are in their first few years of practice and monitor their workloads and working hours to assist with preventing burnout. 
  • Encourage members to come into chambers by creating anchor days when most members will be in or around training events or opportunities for members to gather informally e.g. breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea.
  • Organise a buddy or mentoring programme so that barristers can stay connected when working remotely.
  • Offer online training and events and opportunities for members to be involved with them to increase their profile.

Rachel: Support (including the options mentioned above) is available, so the main thing is to take advantage of it. When you are offered a Practice Development Meeting (PDM) with your practice management team, take it, and do it in person if possible. Equally, don’t wait for a PDM to catch up with your team – touch in with them regularly, so they can support you (e.g., with practice development, workload management etc.) and signpost you to other sources of support (e.g., for wellbeing, health, financial etc.) as needed. The key is to maintain an ongoing dialogue.

What is your number one tip for barristers working remotely?

Amrit: Establish a consistent daily routine to maintain structure and productivity and define specific work hours, breaks, and tasks. Maintain regular communication with clerks, clients, and peers in chambers and keep up to date with chambers’ events and try to attend in person, if possible.

Rachel: Remind yourself of the benefits of working remotely and (if it applies to you) of being self-employed, and take advantage of them (pop on a load of laundry, do the school drop-off/pick-up, go the gym outside peak hours etc.). This job requires you to be conscious of your working practices (including the what, the where, the when, and the how much) but it also means you have a good deal of flexibility. So, enjoy the advantages, but if your currently situation isn’t working for you, know that you can make a change.

Read more about how barristers feel about the shift from working in chambers to working from home and advice for chambers and barristers on effective remote working