Now that wasn't very nice was it Norton1? Anyone that's afraid of a bit of competition at the Bar probably shouldn't be there.
(Original post by Norton1)
Show me a self employed person that enjoys increased competition and I'll show you a fool.
Competition at the Bar from whatever quarter is what makes the good advocates shine, it generates work. You having problems getting work Norton1?
Last edited by jeffferson; 17-07-2012 at 11:14.
Equally, I've seen many barristers do exactly the same thing. Ask leading questions inappropriately, addressing judges in the first person, pacing, using phrases such as 'I put it to you', and so on. I was against someone last year who even started arguing with the judge, I mean arguing person to person, barrister of 15yrs call, but to be fair that person wasn't getting much work.
(Original post by lulu_dudette)
Having spent a fair bit of time in court recently I have to say I'm not a fan of SA's as a whole. Very few of them are very good at both aspects of the job. I have seen SA's doing that American thing of walking up and down behind the bench and making some pretty fundamental errors.
I know I'm biased as I am about to embark on BPTC but when you see a SA asking leading questions and missing important facts from statements it does make you think. I even saw one SA with a CPS solicitor sat behind her. Surely that defeats the objects. For me the separation of solicitors and barristers was there for a reason and it has always worked well. If you try and do too many things somethings got to give!
It really is a question of style, and the people that do advocacy well; barristers, solicitors, legal execs and whoever, will invariably stay in the profession far longer than those that don't.
Self-employed barristers live and die by their success, and it will be the same for SA's and legal executives.
Last edited by jeffferson; 17-07-2012 at 11:29.
(Original post by Norton1)
I'm not a barrister. Unless my last night out took a very strange turn indeed. I stand by it, I wasn't getting at you in particular, but how does the local fish and chip shop feel when McDonalds opens next door?
I don't believe it's as simple as your post suggests. Comparing supply and demand semantics between fish and chip shops and McDonalds does not genuinely identify with the nature of the services provided in legal advocacy. It is frequently stated that an advocate is only as good as their last case, and what that really implies is that if an advocate is utterly useless in court then it is highly unlikely he/she will again be instructed by the client that took that view. Conversely, if an advocate does rather well in their last case then they are far more likely to be instructed again.
Supply and demand, or if you prefer the point of equlibrium, in legal services and advocacy in particualr is extremely complex, and not necessarily reliant on how many individuals have a right of audience. It really isn't a numbers issue. There are many other matters that are far more likely to influence legal practice and in turn whether any particular advocate would be able to sustain a profitable practice. It is truly complex, and often the skill of the advocate both in and out of court can in reality determine their worth. Thus, on a pragmatic level, numbers of advocates is not the issue but rather it is the quality of those that are in practice that is likely to have the most impact. My greatest fear therefore is not SA's, it is whether I can convince my instructing clients that I'm excellent at my job (not that I think I am but I do need my IS to believe it).
Last edited by jeffferson; 17-07-2012 at 18:50.
(Original post by Kessler`)
Well, if I may weigh in...it may be very well for you to feel confident about the better skilled advocates shining through and continuing to get all the work, jeffferson, but - and I mean this with respect - you are an established practitioner. As someone who is about to begin a common law pupillage, prospects for work at the junior end of the bar look ever slimmer as more and more criminal defence firms/PI firms use their own in-house advocates. The work that, 5 or 6 years ago, junior juniors might have cut their teeth on is now becoming harder to find.
From that perspective, what good is it to us young 'uns if the better advocates continue to get instructions when we can't even get a chance to show how good we are?!
And that's not even beginning to consider tenancy prospects with diminishing amounts of junior work...
I entirely empathise with your situation, but I regret to say the lack of work is not necessarily in reaction to SA's. It is ostensibly down to lack of fees, which in turn is down to policy makers continually shredding such things as legal aid. Whilst I am established I too have been at the rough end of work at the Bar, in fact my worst case was when I sucessfully represented a juvenile. Seven hours on the road, four hours in court, three hours prep, and it still cost me £4.50. Of course, most barristers will have a similar story, and that is why many choose to work in other than crime.
The fact you have pupillage is for you at least a very positive outcome, and means you are one of the very rare and fortunate few. There are literally thousands of other candidates that would wish to be in your position of worrying about a tenancy: so let's be frank you're not doing so bad comparitively speaking are you?
Moreover, once you've completed pupillage you may or may not get a tenancy, you may even have to do a further six or more months. Nonetheless, you will have a practising certificate and that means you have far more chance than others of getting a tenancy. Of course, you can also work in a solicitors' firm and still retain your independence as a barrister and that is something a number of my colleagues have chosen to do. The point is, the amount of work or lack of it is not necessarily an SA issue but rather a poor fee issue. In so far, some people refuse to work for the pitiful fees that are on offer in certain areas of the legal profession.
By the way, us old'uns tend not to do the same work us you young 'uns. Collectively we are typically instructed in the type of work that befits our experience and hence call, so there is little prospect of us competing for the same work.
Good luck with the pupillage, and remember be grey
Last edited by jeffferson; 17-07-2012 at 23:19.
No. I'm suggesting that as fees are reduced fewer barristers will remain at the independent Bar. It is unattractive to work for little money, thus in my view SA's are not the cause for now and future diminishing levels of work but rather it is the pay that's the problem. The fact that SA's are more frequently seen in court implies that work is still there. Purely from my own observations, SA's have yet to really embrace the advocacy thing as it's generally more profitable for them to tout for clients and cream whatever profit there is from counsel's fees. Before becoming a barrister I worked at a solicitors firm for a few years and volume was where solicitors earned their profits. It's just now things have become a little tight for solicitor practices and anywhere they can earn or save a bit of money is going to be a commercially interesting pathway. It just so happens that saving money on counsel's fees is one area of interest.
(Original post by Crazy Jamie)
I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at with this. Are you suggesting that the lack of work is caused by barristers refusing to work for pitiful fees, as opposed to work going to solicitor advocates rather than barristers?
Many solicitors have no intention of becoming advocates even though they may have HR's qualification, from what many have told me they would rather stay in the office and send in-house barristers to do the advocacy job. In reality it's chambers that are losing out as solicitor practices are slowly taking over that role and thereby taking the money that is more often paid out by barristers to their clerks. I recall someone telling me on average a tenant pays around 35 to 40% of their fees to chambers, clerks, and associated costs. If that is right, then that is the bit or part thereof solicitor practices will derive by employing in-house counsel.
As Wildman' said in his post above, it's economics.
Last edited by jeffferson; 17-07-2012 at 23:57.