Barrister meets Solicitor: why we share a (non-ivory) tower
By Marsha Robinson
It used to be that a barrister and a solicitor couldn’t directly work together in a regulated law firm. Now they can, and at Paladin we are making the most of it for the benefit of our clients.
The case for change
When the regulations changed it was surprising how few firms decided to make the most of it. Prior to setting up Paladin Neil and I have always worked well together in the more traditional way. We also had conversations at our frustration with the way the legal profession disadvantages the client (the opposite of what it should be doing).
The traditional model is that a solicitor has a client and, when the time comes, instructs a barrister. Most communication with the barrister is via the clerk and even today, many expect the traditional way of presenting documents i.e. beautifully bound with a pink ribbon.
Instructing a barrister ad hoc like this is time-consuming and expensive for the client. Not only are barristers instructed for advocacy, but many solicitors still defer to the Bar at certain key stages, so the client suffers the double-whammy of fees at extortionate rates. Many barristers will also tell you of their frustration at not being involved in a case from the outset, meaning it may not be prepared as they would wish. At every stage the client may be disadvantaged.
Some law firms will have a barrister included on their website. However, on most occasions, the barrister will be an independent practitioner, brought into the firm when needed. At Paladin, we are equal partners who share the workload to deliver excellent client service. It’s unusual to have a barrister who doesn’t just do the advocacy but gets involved in the day-to-day running of the case. It is one of the things that makes us different – and able to deliver exceptional service time and time again.
To us, it’s an obvious thing to do. Luckily, Neil is progressive in his thinking when compared to many barristers (he was always happy to do ‘public access’ work and in fact he was one of the very first) and now, with Paladin, we work together directly with the client.
This allows us to be far more agile and more cost-effective. Our fees are affordable, and the client receives the best possible service.
Taking things further
If you have any questions at all about the way we work or what we can do for you, give us a call and we will be happy to help.
Solicitors and Barristers working seamlessly together to get you results?
That’s the Paladin way.