Can BLP take on the bar?

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) is on the charm offensive. Since the firm was joined by former South Square barrister Stuart Isaacs QC it has been on a mission to build an in-house advocacy unit capable of competing with the bar.

BLP is not alone in this aim. A number of US firms have landed in London in recent years with the ambition of directing clients to in-house advocates rather than referring work out to the bar.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has Sue Prevezer QC and Debevoise & Plimpton Peter Goldsmith QC, for instance.

BLP litigation chief Jonathan Sacher suggests clients can save up to a quarter by using in-house solicitor-advocates. Even better still, another 25 per cent can be saved by opting to use in-house forensic accountants.

What we want to know is whether this hard sell is working with clients. Sources tell us it’s the disputes team that is holding up BLP’s falling revenues. They must be doing something right.

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