The article by Joshua Rozenberg about the implications for solicitor HCAs of Sir Bill Jeffrey’s report overlooks a very significant factor: ‘customer choice’.
The service expectations and demands of the consumer are paramount today. From plumber to estate agent, and lawyer to independent financial adviser, right across the service spectrum, woe betide interference either by the professional bodies or government in a market where a very well-informed customer is invariably ‘king’.
The expression ‘you get what you pay for’ comes to mind. In terms of advocacy, be it delivered by the bar or by solicitor HCAs, it is perhaps naive if not patronising for Mr Rozenberg to ignore that clients today, be the matter civil or criminal, increasingly demand both a comprehensive and seamless service from inception to trial. An increasingly cautious customer base, well informed by the media, the internet and simple ‘word of mouth’, is well capable of distinguishing the ‘wheat from the chaff’.
If Darwin was right in terms of evolution by natural selection, then I simply say, based on 45 years’ practising experience, let the market be the jury.
David Kirwan, senior partner, Kirwans, Merseyside