Paul Newman, Hugh James Ford Simey Solicitors

As a barrister employed within solicitors' private practice, I read your front-page feature in the 7 May issue with interest.
Following the bar rule changes, I have regained full rights of audience in the courts and currently have a pupil barrister working with me. Now restored to the ranks of the practising bar, albeit not in chambers, I approached the Wales and Chester Circuit seeking membership. After some procrastination on their part and chasing from me, they declined to offer me circuit membership. They have no intention at present to extend membership to those who are not in independent practice.
The decision of circuits to ostracise barristers who are not in chambers may have other consequences. The circuits currently have a role in the provision of CPD [continuing professional development] for pupils and will undoubtedly have a greater role in the provision of education as CPD extends to all barristers. It is imperative that the circuits begin to comprehend the new realities and that there are practitioners outside the conventional bar.