3VB practice director takes charge at Riverview Chambers

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  • Fixed fee pricing and barrister led. Deployment of solicitors when deemed necessary. Utter nonsense.
    How much of a fix are you going to get into with this model i.e. in the absence of a first 'sift' of the papers and intelligence gathering by the solicitor prior to the presentation of a set of instructions to counsel. What state are those papers going to be in when received by counsel from the lay client?
    Good luck.

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  • I'm afraid the first commentator is out of touch with modern legal practice. Fixed fees will encroach more and more. Surprising as it may seem, calculating the cost of litigation isn't so difficult. It isn't the only service that has to be priced that way. An experienced clerk or barrister ought to be able to weigh up a case for difficulty and length.
    And as more ABS enter the field those who commit to pricing only by hourly rates will find themselves losing market share.

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  • An incredibly naive riposte. "An experienced clerk or barrister ought to be able to weigh up a case for difficulty and length." Naturally, any clerk or barrister can assess a case for length and complexity based on tight and cogent instructions from the instructing solicitor.
    So, barrister x is required by a lay client to provide a written opinion. Let us assume that barrister x resolves to provide that advice prior to the involvement of a solicitor, which implicitly appears to be the Riverside approach. Lay client produces a hash of a set of a papers but barrister x forges ahead and provides for, say, £5,000 his or her written advice. The lay client thereafter divulges a crucial piece of evidence missed in the first step instructions which fundamentally alters the nature of the claim. What then happens? If you have to go back to the client seeking additional funds then your model of fixed fees and certainty is immediately broken.
    This is not a concern particular to hourly rate charging because, of course, any lay client requires, particularly in this market, a degree of or complete certainty. It is a question of how that certainty is delivered.
    As more ABS' enter the market, those proffering a fixed fee service who then renege on that service will surely find themselves out in the cold.

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  • Since when has Hopkins been a "practice director"? Second junior clerk, it seems to me.

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  • Dear Casual Observer,
    Observation of a slighly less casual nature reveals that one of the features is the team of solicitors, paralegals etc who can be included in the process as necessary. So while more sophisticated clients (and they seem to be targeting businesses) and cases with limited paperwork can go straight to counsel, less well prepared instructions would be able to be sorted out first. Surely this is a better option than having to instruct a separate law firm purely for that purpose ?
    As for your worries about costing, I am not quite sure what decade you are casually observing from. With modern processes this is really not a difficult area.
    It's great to see innovation in the market aimed at providing a genuine practical solution, rather than just window-dressing. I wish them luck.

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  • Dear so called Smart Casual Observer,
    It had not escaped my notice that the 'team' at Rearview Chambers includes "employed lawyers...." I was merely waiting for the obtuse observation so that one can then ask the following question...precisely where is the cost saving for the client if he / she requires the assistance of a solicitor given that they will still have to engage and pay for such? Are Rearview Chambers going to be providing that service gratis?
    I have to say your description of cases with limited paperwork and "less well-prepared instructions..." is just cloud cuckoo land. What planet are you living on? I totally disagree that this is a "better option than instructing a separate law firm..." The right law firm will provide the right service at the right price.
    As to your response in relation to costing, that simply beggars belief. I can only assume that you are not in any way linked to a set of chambers and so do not understand the process. As such, I think it pointless debating this point with you. A classic battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. "Modern processes...? What the hell are you talking about?
    I wish you luck...you will need it.
    As to Riverview, I give it a year or two.

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