7 Bedford Row to go down LDP route

Civil and criminal set 7 Bedford Row (7BR) is mooting plans to employ lawyers and paralegals as part of a legal disciplinary partnership (LDP) following the ­implementation of the Legal Services Act (LSA).

Simeon Maskrey QC, who was elected as chambers head after his predecessor Kate Thirlwall QC quit to join the bench, said the set was examining methods of being more cost-efficient.

“We’re looking very carefully at what the customer needs, and that is block contracts,” he said. “Under the current structure it’s more difficult to provide that.”

Maskrey said members of 7BR had shown universal support for plans to overhaul the set’s structure in the post-LSA environment.

One option being ­considered is whether to employ full-time support lawyers or paralegals to assist members.

“Under the traditional structure the barrister does all the work,’ said Maskrey. “This would be more cost-effective.”

Setting up a chambers-wide LDP would better enable the set to provide block contracts to local authority clients or the CPS, he added.

In February Outer ­Temple Chambers unveiled plans to establish an ­international procurement company to capture ­international work (The Lawyer, 22 February).