Barrister vs solicitor Watch

legalworld
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Why do people want to be called to the Bar when they could become a solicitor and get higher rights? That way they would have alot of secuirty but still do advocacy work. With all the uncertainty over the future of the Bar why are people aiming for it?
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Evil_Genius
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Higher rights are largely a concept devoid of practical meaning. In effect, you will only do advocacy beyond basic time-extension applications if you're a barrister--in the vast majority of cases. Also, I like the challenge
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curiouslyorange1989
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because you get a wig
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Lewisy-boy
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At the minute most decent firms will still instruct barristers even if some of the solicitors have higher rights, although it's useful to have higher rights for things where it would be a waste of money to instruct a barrister, ie the very minor parts of advocacy.

From speaking to litigation solicitors last summer they said that ultimately it can still work out cheaper to instruct a senior junior barrister (per hour) than to have a partner or someone of equal experience in the firm do it for the client and that barrister is a specialist litigator, so ultimately the client will always choose to have them!
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prince of persia
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The whole point of being a barrister that you are self-employed and independant, the whole lifestyle is completely different..
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chalks
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(Original post by legalworld)
Why do people want to be called to the Bar when they could become a solicitor and get higher rights? That way they would have alot of secuirty but still do advocacy work. With all the uncertainty over the future of the Bar why are people aiming for it?
Lewis and Evil_Genius have highlighted the main issues.

The provision of Higher Rights was supposed to herald a wave of solicitors undertaking their own advocacy at the very top levels of litigation. Various pundits suggested that this was the end of the Bar and that, within a few years, we would be looking at a combined profession.

Those of us who actually did contentious work had a slightly different viewpoint which seems to have been borne out.

Solicitors who want to undertake really good advocacy fall foul (or should that be "fowl"?) of a chicken and egg scenario. Clients want, and are entitled to, the best courtroom representation that their money can buy. By courtroom representation, I include all the associated work that goes with that i.e. preparation for hearings, drafting skeletons, understanding of the bench and opponents etc etc. In my view, few solicitors can legitimately (or even ethically) suggest that they have the same level of courtroom ability, expertise or experience as their peers at the Bar. Accordingly, the solicitors don't get instructed to do the work and are unable to develop that crucial experience.

There is scope for good solicitors to do smaller scale cases and hearings. In many circumstances there will be a cost saving to the client as there is no need for a separate individual to be briefed and retained to undertake the advocacy. However, as soon as the matters become complex, time-consuming and of greater financial importance then I struggle to see how or why a client would want to retain a solicitor to undertake the advocacy when there are better and cheaper options at the Bar.

The larger law firms love to advertise to undergrads the potential of higher rights advocacy and trumpet their wonderful training courses etc. The reality is that getting solicitors to do such advocacy flies directly in the face of their strategies to have teams working on a small number of massive cases, rather than a large number of small cases. So the next time Herbies tells you that their higher rights training is a key component of the development of their litigation lawyers, take it with a pinch of salt!
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Commercial_2010
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(Original post by chalks)
Lewis and Evil_Genius have highlighted the main issues.

The provision of Higher Rights was supposed to herald a wave of solicitors undertaking their own advocacy at the very top levels of litigation. Various pundits suggested that this was the end of the Bar and that, within a few years, we would be looking at a combined profession.

Those of us who actually did contentious work had a slightly different viewpoint which seems to have been borne out.

Solicitors who want to undertake really good advocacy fall foul (or should that be "fowl"?) of a chicken and egg scenario. Clients want, and are entitled to, the best courtroom representation that their money can buy. By courtroom representation, I include all the associated work that goes with that i.e. preparation for hearings, drafting skeletons, understanding of the bench and opponents etc etc. In my view, few solicitors can legitimately (or even ethically) suggest that they have the same level of courtroom ability, expertise or experience as their peers at the Bar. Accordingly, the solicitors don't get instructed to do the work and are unable to develop that crucial experience.

There is scope for good solicitors to do smaller scale cases and hearings. In many circumstances there will be a cost saving to the client as there is no need for a separate individual to be briefed and retained to undertake the advocacy. However, as soon as the matters become complex, time-consuming and of greater financial importance then I struggle to see how or why a client would want to retain a solicitor to undertake the advocacy when there are better and cheaper options at the Bar.

The larger law firms love to advertise to undergrads the potential of higher rights advocacy and trumpet their wonderful training courses etc. The reality is that getting solicitors to do such advocacy flies directly in the face of their strategies to have teams working on a small number of massive cases, rather than a large number of small cases. So the next time Herbies tells you that their higher rights training is a key component of the development of their litigation lawyers, take it with a pinch of salt!
Very good explanation, worthy of repping.
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Legal_Jim
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From talking to quite a few barristers I'm led to believe that the solicitor-advocates haven't received the same in depth advocacy training that a graduate of Bar School has. This may obviously be a somewhat distorted viewpoint given the role of those voicing their opinions. However, having witnessed solicitor advocates and barristers in court my opinion was that the barristers tended to come across slightly better. Most judges after all tend to have come from the Bar.

There will obviously be differences in quality with both barristers and solicitor-advocates, and the quality of solicitor-advocates will improve over time.

In terms of junior counsel in the criminal courts I'm told that juniors aren't being instructed by the CPS at Crown Court. The CPS is using its own advocates, be they solicitor-advocates or barristers. This restricts the experience gained by junior counsel. However, I firmly believe that the best will still rise to the top, but they may be in the employed as opposed to independent Bar.
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Lewisy-boy
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I think in legal aid scenarios you might end up with more solicitors doing the advocacy, because they want more money for themselves! A lot of what I (and I presume Chalks, since it is his background) is from what I've heard on the commercial scene.
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