City firms set their sights on advocacy

CITY firms are gearing themselves up to take on the Bar in the higher courts.

That was the conclusion drawn by Young Solicitors Group chair Lucy Winskell after an open meeting to encourage more solicitors to apply for rights of audience.

She said around one third of the audience at the meeting at Chancery Lane on 1 December was planning to apply.

The gathering was held to examine why only 312 solicitors had so far won higher court rights of audience.

Winskell said the City was clearly gearing up to do more in-house advocacy work, but some solicitors in other areas of the country were still daunted by perceived hostility from the courts and the Bar.

Among the practical advice offered was the need by aspiring solicitor advocates to delegate work to get as much court practice as possible.

Winskell, a civil litigation partner at the Newcastle firm Wilkinson Maughan, said she was planning to apply for higher court rights of audience once she has completed her term as chair of the Young Solicitors Group.

“We will certainly be continuing to encourage young solicitors to apply,” she said.