Two barristers have established a Bar Standards Board-regulated entity to act as a ‘litigation vehicle’ in an effort to keep more work in their chambers.
Simon Collingham (pictured, left) and Rossano Cifonelli (pictured, right), direct access barristers at 2 Dr Johnson’s Buildings, London, set up VII Law, an entity which will have a ‘bias’ towards sports law, media and entertainment.
Collingham told the Gazette that as the chambers specialises in criminal, family and legal aid work, the entity would not put them in direct competition with the chambers’ own instructing solicitors.
‘It is not about competing with solicitors. We are offering a bespoke service to professionals who want quality not quantity,’ he said.
The two barristers set up VII Law after realising there were ‘limitations’ on providing direct access work.
Collingham said: ‘In VII Law’s anticipated areas of work where we are not in competition with chambers’ solicitors, it would be disappointing if we had to send work away, sending clients to solicitors thereby losing a business opportunity to grow chambers.’
The aim is to provide litigation services through the entity and then instruct barristers at 2 Dr Johnson’s Buildings to do any necessary advocacy work. The two barristers are considering eventually turning the business into an alternative business structure to offer spin-off services such as marketing.
Collingham said: ‘I think this entity will set us out from the crowd. We don’t have any immediate competitors and we are very dynamic as we have got such a breadth of skills at our disposal within chambers.’
But he admitted that there was a benefit of having a solicitor involved in the process, and said the venture might contract some litigation work out, while retaining as much work as possible in-house.
He said the model fits with the aims of its chambers, which is trying to expand its practice into other areas due to the current climate in legal aid and family work.
VII Law will be based within chambers, making use of its clerking facilities, which it expected to help keep overheads low.