Time to get rid of barristers

“It’s about time we got rid of barristers,” said Slick today.

“You what?” said OldSmoothie. “Turkeys voting for Christmas springs to mind.”

“No, I don’t mean getting rid of chambers or anything like that. But the distinction between barristers and solicitors is now completed outdated.”

“It most certainly is not,” said HeadofChambers.

“Well, what is it that you say distinguishes the Bar? Trial advocacy?”

“Exactly,” came the reply.

“Even though solicitors have been appearing in court for years,” said Slick.

“If you’d even count that,” whispered OldSmoothie.

“So, maybe specialist advice perhaps?” continued Slick.

“Yes, that too,” said HeadofChambers.

“Even though it’s something solicitors have always been able to do.”

“Yes, but we’re simply better at those things,” said HeadofChambers.

“That may or may not be so,” said Slick. “But that’s a matter of quality rather than about doing a completely different job.”

“But, but…” It was OldSmoothie. “The most important thing of all is that we don’t have to conduct the day to day litigation and get all the hassles of having to deal with pesky clients.”

“Despite the fact that there are now loads of barristers who take direct access. So, what else? What on earth’s left to distinguish us?”

There was a silence.

“The irony is that you all see it as a threat when people start talking about a unified profession,” said Slick. “Even though it would actually give us the opportunity to start making some serious cash. If people suddenly realised that the lawyers formerly known as barristers could be their first port of call for advice as opposed to the lawyers formerly known as solicitors, which do you think they would choose?”

“But, but, I didn’t choose to be a plain, boring lawyer,” said OldSmoothie.

“No, you chose instead to be a very plain, and incredibly boring barrister,” said UpTights.

“Look, whatever your vanity or social pretensions…”

“Whoa, don’t even go there with OldSmnoothie,” said BusyBody.

“…you can’t deny that you”re still in a profession whose single purpose is billing out high levels of cash.”

Reluctant agreement there.

“…and what with the attacks on success fees and legal aid, surely none of you are going to turn away from an opportunity to make it all better? So let’s level the playing field and really start competing with solicitors on equal terms. Honestly, they should be the worried ones, not us.”

Now that really did get people thinking.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

March 12, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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