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The Bar and Smaller Firms of Solicitors

Clients may not understand the relationship between solicitors and barristers. We believe it vital to see why a medium sized firm of solicitors, such as ourselves, can still provide the best and most economic service to a client, when counsel are used correctly.

In general, our profession (solicitors) deals with preparation and advocacy in the lower courts, and barristers (or counsel) are seen usually as specialist advocates.

Smaller firms of solicitors have very much lower overheads than do the largest firms. We also accept much lower financial rewards. This difference in costing does not imply a necessary difference in the quality of service. For very many matters, there is no doubt that the political virtue of instructing a larger firm of solcitors is that they are able to provide specialist and accurate advice quickly. Their extra charges are justified in theory, by being able to deal with the matter more speedily and accurately with the greater resources available. Since however even a junior partner in a large firm may charge an hourly rate rather more than double that of a partner in a small firm, this does leave the possibilty that the solicitor in a smaller firm who is prepared to take the trouble to take a little more time on a matter is likely to be able to do just as effective a job even though it takes him slightly longer, the charges may still be less. Also, any form of solicitors has access if necessary to the very best specialist advice from any barrister. Again, as with solicitors, charging rates vary very considerably, but one need only visit any magistrates court to see that in practice it can often be cheaper to employ a barrister through a solicitor than for the solicitor himself to do the work.

It is possible for anybody in any profession to do the owrk presented to him badly. We have often turned away work where we felt it was outside our area of knowledge or outside our resources to cope with, we have always been ready to pass the work onto larger firms who may be able to cope with this. Almost without exception, clients have returned to us afterwards for other matters.

These things can be difficult to anticipate. The matters which clients bring to us are very varied and are often unpredictable. There may well be times when the result when the result which we achieve, for various reasons may be slightly more expensive than would have been achieved by a larger firm. We do believe however that often our charges will be very substantially less, and without any compomise in the quality of the work. Small Firms of Solicitors and Barristers

Clients, understandably, rarely understand the economics of the relationship between solicitors and barristers. An understanding of this however as vital to understanding why a small firm of solicitor such as ourselves can provide still the best and most economic to a client when counsel are used correctly.

In this jurisdiction, still, a lay client can only instruct a barrister by instructing solicitors first. In general our profession deals with preparation and advocacy in the lower courts, and barristers (or counsel) are seen usually as specialist advocates or other specialists. These distinctions are becoming more blurred, as solicitors obtain rights of advocacy in the higher courts and as barristers come to act upon instructions received from, for example, accountants and also as barristers act as barristers in the lower courts.

Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
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18 October 2013 98 18 October 2013