Can BLP compete with the bar?

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  • Given the choice, I don't think most barristers would want to work for a law firm. Years of being your own boss are not the best preparation for the occasionally abrasive internal politics that many law firms have (I have worked in both scenarios). In addition I think most solicitors pride themselves on getting the right horse for the course, being tied to an in house team, because of the cost of having them, could be a bind. What will they do if things go quiet, will they lay them off until things pick up again?

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  • High city firm overheads simply can’t compete with the bar. Well informed clients, domestic and international, know that a 25% saving in-house is not accurate. Brief (read fixed) fees are nearly always very good value. Independent choice, to suit the particular case, is in the clients best interest. Generally the difference in performance between the bar and alternatives is stark, particularly in arbitration.

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  • Working in-house certainly means far too much politics. The solicitor may wish to pursue the case in a particular direction only to be trumped by your senior colleague who happens to be a QC. In-house solicitors are unlikely to challenge these decisions having to toe the party line.
    Working in-house also means that there is a whole team directing the case in a particular direction. Too much contact with these teams and the internal evidence gathering processes is only likely to affect the in-house barrister's judgment. Whereas at the independent bar the barrister can be presented the evidence by solicitors and who will then with greatest independence provide a realistic view of the prospects of success, rather than make a decision which is influenced by the amount business that will come into the firm.

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  • There really is nothing new under the sun and every fashion really does come back round again.

    I remember in-house advocacy being the next being thing of the mid-90s as well.

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