In-house advocacy teams at law firms are more ‘modern, efficient and cost effective’ than traditional chambers, a City practice has said, predicting growth in the number of law firms recruiting barristers.
Jason Ford, chief executive of DWF’s ‘Connected Services’ offering, told that Gazette that the legal market is changing ‘rapidly’ and that clients now seek ‘end-to-end solutions’.
‘The profession has been split for hundreds of years but it’s slightly artificial to have a solicitor running a case, but when it comes to needing representation in court then it must done by a separate organisation,’ Ford said. ‘Having a barrister in your stable rather than as someone you have to instruct at arm’s length makes life dramatically better, both for the solicitor involved and also for the client.’
Ford predicted that other City practices will create their own in-house chambers in the near future. ‘We are already seeing that other firms…are looking at our model and thinking “that’s a good model” and looking to replicate it,’ he said.
Stephen Pritchett, new head of DWF’s in-house advocacy team, said he is looking to recruit more barristers to ensure a spread of expertise, including in commercial litigation and employment law.
‘Are we going to replace external chambers? The answer is almost certainly no. That’s not our aim. There will always be a place for external chambers and there will always be a place for specialist advocates,’ Pritchett said.
‘But the vast majority of cases that come our way are through our big providers – insurance companies, multi-nationals – where they are sending a lot of bulk work through. There’s a huge attraction to being able to deal with that “ordinary” type work that doesn’t require that external specialisation.’
Pritchett joins DWF from 23 Essex Street Chambers. He was called to the Bar in 1989.