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Gary Oliver has been a clerk for over 40 years. (The legend started in 1981.)
He has overall responsibility for managing and developing the individual practices of each member of Chambers. This also includes the strategic and focused business development and marketing of Chambers, across all areas of practice.
Clients respect Gary’s advice and judgement as to the most appropriate Counsel to instruct. He has built strong relationships with clients worldwide, in particular India, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Cayman, BVI, Bermuda, USA, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and Europe.
Gary was named Senior Clerk of the Year at the Legal 500 Bar Awards 2022 and he is highly regarded by both of the independent legal directories, Chambers & Partners and Legal 500. He was featured as one of the legal stars of 2013 by The Lawyer in the ‘Hot 100’. The Lawyer citation reads, “as Blackstone Chambers’ Senior Clerk, Gary Oliver is a key force behind chambers’ phenomenal success”.
Mat Swallow, together with Gary Oliver, is responsible for the strategic planning, management and administration of Chambers.
This is his second stint at Blackstone Chambers, having first been employed as the Communications and Marketing Manager (2005-2007). He was then recruited to launch and run a joint venture between YouGov, the leading research organisation, and Centaur, the listed publisher. Previously, Mat spent seven years as a journalist with The Lawyer magazine, latterly as deputy editor. He rejoined Blackstone Chambers in June 2008.
Working closely with the Senior Clerk, Mat’s role encompasses practice management and marketing/business development.
Mat sits on the Executive Committee of the Legal Practice Management Association and is one of the founders and a trustee of Bridging the Bar, a charity committed to improving the equality of access to opportunities in the legal profession across all underrepresented groups.
Deputy Senior Clerk
Derek Sutton started his clerking career at Blackstone in 1994 and has developed an excellent understanding of all Chambers’ practice areas.
Derek assists Gary Oliver with practice development for all members of Chambers, working closely with clients, from Counsel selection to fee negotiation, providing ongoing support and assistance throughout the lifetime of a matter. Derek also assists Gary and Mat Swallow with marketing initiatives both with UK and overseas clients.
The legal directories describe Derek as “very thorough, responsive, professional, easy to work with, and runs a smooth operation" (Chambers and Partners, 2022), “very personable and great at giving honest recommendations of the right person for a case” (Chambers and Partners, 2022), and “just superb to work with” (Legal 500, 2022). "Derek Sutton stands out in terms of his client care and pragmatism"(Legal 500, 2022). "I have known Derek Sutton for over 10 years. He goes out of his way to get things done for you" (Legal 500, 2022).
Derek was shortlisted by Legal 500 in 2019 category clerk/practice manager of the year.
Deputy Senior Clerk
Adam Sloane has been with Chambers since 2000.
In his role as Deputy Senior Clerk Adam assists Senior Clerk Gary Oliver in the management and development of barristers practices at all levels of seniority.
Adam's time at Blackstone Chambers has provided him with a breadth of knowledge across all of chambers practice areas, enabling him to play a key role in both the domestic and international growth of chambers.
Adam receives high praise in the legal directories: a highly accomplished Clerk who’s professional standards are second to none. He clearly has an extensive knowledge of the Barristers at the Chambers and is a shining star within the organisation." Legal 500, 2021; “Adam Sloane in particular is first-rate and makes using Blackstone very easy” Legal 500, 2022; “extremely knowledgeable, friendly and approachable” Legal 500, 2022; “extremely responsive and he understands our clients” Chambers and Partners, 2022.
Dean Tolman has been a clerk for over 20 years, with almost 10 of those years at Blackstone Chambers and has an excellent understanding of all Chambers’ practice areas.
Dean has sole responsibility for clerking Sir James Eadie QC, the First Treasury Counsel, and also for overseeing the members of Chambers on the Attorney General’s panel counsel lists. He is also responsible for the diary management and practice development of all members of Chambers, daily liaison and advising clients, distribution of work, fee negotiation, listing of Chambers cases and assisting with marketing initiatives.
Billy Brian joined Blackstone Chambers in 2019 having spent a number of years at two other leading commercial sets of chambers. He is responsible for the practice management and development of all members of Chambers’ practices and has an active role with chambers marketing initiatives.
Between 2018 and 2020 Billy was co-chair of the Institute of Barristers Clerks Career Development Committee and sat on the Institute’s Management Committee until 2020.
The legal directories describe Billy as “charming and responsive” (Chambers and Partners, 2022), “very personable, prompt and accommodating” (Legal 500, 2022), and “hardworking, very approachable and a pleasure to work with” (Legal 500, 2022).
Danny Compton started his clerking career with Blackstone Chambers in 2010. Danny is an integral member of the clerking team, covering all areas of Chambers’ practice.
His main duties include liaising with solicitors, advising clients on work distribution, fee negotiation, listing hearings and general day to day management of barrister diaries.
Danny is commended in the legal directories as “really hardworking” (Legal 500, 2022), “very responsive, user-friendly and sensible” (Legal 500, 2022) and “prompt, pragmatic and has a very commercial approach to time sensitive and urgent matters” (Chambers and Partners, 2022).
Outside work Danny enjoys socialising with friends, going to the cinema and gardening.
Marc Armstrong commenced his clerking career in 2008 and joined Blackstone Chambers in 2017. His main responsibilities include advising clients on the distribution of work, fee negotiation, listing hearings, diary management and assisting with marketing initiatives.
The Legal 5002022 describes Marc as "excellent – always extremely helpful and responsive”.
Adam Fuschillo started his Clerking career with Blackstone Chambers in July 2008. His main duties within the clerking team include the distribution of work, liaising with solicitors, working with tenants called to foreign jurisdictions, fee negotiations and day to day diary management of tenants. He has successfully completed the BTEC Advanced Award in Chambers Administration.
Adam is described in the legal directories as “easy to deal with and very responsive” and “most helpful and possesses sound knowledge on legal aid billing rate”
Sophie Reeve began her clerking career with Blackstone Chambers in August 2015 after graduating from the University of Exeter. Her duties within the clerking team include liaising with solicitors, diary management, distribution of work and fee negotiation with a focus on the most junior tenants.
Sophie is described as “efficient and quick” in the Chambers and Partners 2022 legal directory.
Rio Sully commenced her clerking career in 2016 and joined Blackstone Chambers in 2022 from another leading Chancery/Commercial set.
Her main duties include liaising with solicitors, diary management, distribution of work, listing hearings, fee negotiation and assisting with the day to day running within the clerks room. In 2019 she successfully completed the BTEC Advanced Award in Chambers Administration.
Toby Dennison started his clerking career at Blackstone Chambers in May 2021. His duties include assisting barristers to and from court, gathering and collating authorities, lodging relevant documents with court and assisting with diary management. Toby is a member of the Institute of Barristers' Clerks (IBC).
Daniel Higgins started his clerking career at Blackstone Chambers in April 2022. His duties include conducting daily court runs, collating authority bundles and lodging relevant documents with courts. Prior to joining Chambers, Daniel worked in Retail Management and Education. Daniel graduated from Canterbury University in 2017.
Katia Barr joined Blackstone Chambers in 2023. Katia’s responsibilities include supporting and advising Chambers’ staff, managers, and senior team members on all key areas of Human Resources. Katia has also responsibility for developing Chambers’ Human Resources function and HR strategy, working closely with the Chambers Director. Katia is an established HR professional with over 17 years’ experience in Human Resources Management, specialising in HR strategy, employee development, policy development, inclusion and diversity. Before joining Blackstone Chambers, Katia worked in a variety of sectors including Higher Education, Banking, and the Service Industry.
Consultant Chief Information Officer
Roger Burgess joined Blackstone Chambers in May 2023 as Consultant Chief Information Officer (CIO) and heads the technology function. Working closely with the Chambers Director, his responsibilities include all aspects of IT including Information/Cyber Security.
Nicola Hall joined Chambers in 2022. She provides project-based support to the Chambers Director and Chambers as a whole. She also oversees our legal, regulatory and compliance administration, working with members of the wider team to ensure Chambers’ obligations are met. Nicola comes to Chambers from a career in education, assessment and her own education consultancy.
Kate Hinckley joined Chambers in 2016. Her main responsibilities include practice management, compliance and regulatory requirements for barristers, administration of recruitment campaigns, internal training programmes and staff HR. Kate provides support to the Chambers Director and Senior Clerk to ensure the overall smooth-running of Chambers.
Matt Phelan is Chambers’ Facilities Manager and joined Blackstone at the start of 2019. He is responsible for all matters related to the building, including Health & Safety.
Working closely with the Chambers Director, his responsibilities include the smooth day-to-day running of the building, office moves and refurbishment works and providing the best working environment for both barristers and staff alike.
Carla Rodriguez is the Graduate Recruitment and Pupillage Manager for Chambers, and is responsible for the administration of Chambers’ graduate recruitment together with the administration of pupillage for Chambers’ current pupils through their year of training. Responsibilities also include the organisation of Chambers’ attendance at law fairs, and other events with universities and outreach organisations.
Lewis Baker joined Blackstone Chambers in 2017. He is responsible for all matters relating to the financial operation of Chambers. Working closely with the Chambers Director, his responsibilities include heading the accountancy and book-keeping for Chambers' management company and all individual practitioners.
Matthew Stone is Chambers Fees Clerk. He joined Chambers in 2017 and heads up our Fees Collection department. Matthew started his career as a Clerk in 2005 before deciding to focus on a career specialising in fee management. He works very closely with the clerks and is responsible for all aspects of fees collection at Blackstone. He has specialist knowledge of the many different funding mechanisms adopted within Chambers’ core practice areas.
James Thraves is Chambers’ Deputy Fees and Finance Administrator having joined Blackstone in 2018. He previously worked as a Revenue Controller at one of the UK’s largest sets. His responsibilities include all areas of fee collection and billing.
Mandy Fitzgerald is a longstanding member of the reception team having joined Chambers in May 2008. She provides support for Chambers' front of house service.
Bernadette Lyons is Chambers’ Housekeeper having joined in July 2017. She is responsible for providing full conference room services and catering arrangements for client and barrister meetings, conferences and seminars in Chambers.
Kathryn Bates is the Events Executive for chambers, assisting Stevie Moore in the organisation and marketing of Chambers functions, events, conferences, and seminars. Kathryn has a degree in Theatre and Performance from The University of Leeds.
Marketing & Communications Executive
Charlotte Chigoneka is the Marketing & Communications Executive for Chambers. Charlotte provides support to the marketing team, maintains Chambers’ contacts database and assists in the organisation of conferences and seminars. Charlotte has a degree in English Literature from the University of Sussex.
Stevie Moore looks after the conferences, seminars, corporate functions and the marketing that goes with this. These events range from informal networking events to large-scale conferences with guest lists ranging from 10 to 1000. Stevie has project responsibility from planning to post-event analysis, involving management of fellow support staff and negotiation with external suppliers. Stevie has a degree in event management.
Alec Parsons-Smith works closely with the Chambers Director, Mat Swallow and the marketing team, and has responsibility for the development and implementation of Chambers’ marketing strategy. Alec has over 15 years’ experience in UK and US law firms, working on a wide variety of communications and business development projects.
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Deputy Senior Clerk
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