First of two reviews of websites of the relaunched Faculty of Advocates stables
There have, in recent months, been a number of new or rebranded advocates’ stables launched. This has coincided with an increasing focus on marketing of advocates’ services. It is therefore not surprising that while few of the older stables had websites, each new stable launched has been accompanied by a new website.

Ampersand

www.ampersandstable.com

Ampersand (“collaborative strength”) is the new name for the Ferguson Stable, which was one of the few older stables to have a website. A civil stable, Ampersand’s advocates cover a wide range of practice areas.

As with every stable, this website includes some details about the stable itself, contact details for its clerks, an indication of the main practice areas and a list of its advocates, complete with CVs in HTML, or in much more detail in PDF, and contact details on vCard to download.

What sets the Ampersand website apart then? It has a news section, which keeps the visitor up to date with news relating to the stable, especially any important cases their counsel have been involved in. It is an attractive website, making use of photographs of counsel to good effect – although there is a slight overuse of the ampersand motif, which gets a little wearying after a while. Finally, it has a direct link on the front page to the Faculty of Advocates (www.advocates.org.uk) electronic diary system – a simple enough idea, but one which dramatically increases the likelihood that a solicitor will return to this stable’s website rather than the Faculty’s.

Arnot Manderson

www.arnotmanderson.co.uk

Arnot Manderson was only formed in January of this year but is already the largest stable at the Scottish bar. It came into being through a merger of the Arnot and Manderson stables (fairly obvious, really). The stable offers advocates with experience across both civil and criminal law.

The website is okay, but offers nothing really remarkable. The news section hadn’t been updated for over a month when I visited. The advocates’ profiles are brief. The FAQ section, however, is genuinely useful (in contrast to many such pages across the internet), setting out a number of points of the stable’s policy and practice clearly and concisely.

Axiom Advocates

www.axiomadvocates.com

Axiom were founded in April 2007, one of the first of the new breed of advocates’ stables. The focus is on commercial and public law cases.

The first thing that struck me about the website was the extremely small size of the text. Having used my browser’s controls to increase the size twice, it was at a comfortable level – one only hopes that Axiom’s business plan does not rely too much on securing the lucrative shortsighted solicitors market!

Having said that, there are many good features to this site. It offers both abbreviated information about Axiom’s members and lengthier CVs in both HTML and PDF. Clicking on any of Axiom’s practice areas not only lists the advocates who can help, but also provides an insightful introduction to the area, highlighting some of the key areas of legal dispute – a nice touch. The news section is well written, covering interesting topics and appears to be updated frequently. There is useful information regarding seminars which certain members are available to deliver, including their “Third Thursday” series. Again there is a FAQ page, which is quite useful. Court of Session term dates and court holidays appear, justifiably, under the heading “Useful Information”. Finally, the site does not assume that you know what an advocate is or does, and so it tells you.

Compass Chambers

www.compasschambers.com

Compass Chambers, the last of the new stables for this month’s review, is a stable that lists reparation and regulation as its “core strengths”. Its website has the most modern feel of the four, although the colour scheme is a little on the drab side (blue/grey anyone?).

The site makes good use of counsel’s (and other) photos, which lifts the site’s mood considerably. Added to this is fairly full biographical information on members, frequently updated news, and detailed information on the seminars which can be delivered.

All in all a decent online brochure for Compass.

If you are (or know of) an individual advocate with their own website you’d like to see reviewed, please contact me on iain@absolvitor.com .

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