Changes… (2) ... Direct Access Work
Direct access work
Following on from a couple of announcements over the last week https://www.linkedin.com/posts/theohuckleqc_staysafestaysane-activity-6754390745605529602-UU5K , just to say that although I didn’t learn the double bass or Hungarian during the 2020 lockdowns, I did get around to doing the Bar Council’s public access course and am now accredited to accept direct access instruction. I was prompted to do this by learning that almost 25% of all the earnings of the Bar are now from direct access instruction of various kinds. Extraordinary.
My website invites work in this way: https://www.theohuckleqc.com/clients-direct . My aim is to limit essentially to preliminary advice, as I do not wish to conduct complex injury litigation and do not have the resources or systems to do so.
I used to be concerned about “competing with my market” (ie. of instructing lawyers) but in the course itself the course leader, a solicitor himself, explained to us that that was not a real concern, and that the relationship between an instructing lawyer and a direct access barrister should be somewhat symbiotic:
As a lawyer there may be cases where you are asked to take on a case but would need counsel’s advice either privately or in order to accept the case on a CFA. If the client is able to pay for that preliminary advice on a direct access basis, this can be a way forward for client and lawyer without the client being required to pay for both lawyers’ time obtaining that specialist advice, and without the first lawyer having to invest resources heavily in what may well not be a viable case legally. It may also be easier to send a disappointed prospective client away with the positive suggestion as to the option to obtain specialist advice, in cases where your immediate view is that there is no case.
On whichever of these bases it comes to me, or simply a direct approach by the client via my website, if a case has merit in my view, I will advise the client to seek help from one of my recommended lawyers who may be prepared to handle it on a CFA with the support of my positive advice. If there was a referral to me for direct access advice by a lawyer, there is the obvious reasonable expectation that with that positive advice the client will be encouraged to return the case to that referring lawyer for further conduct.
So I hope that lawyer colleagues will find this service useful, but generally if you are or know anyone who has suffered complex injury and would value and can afford preliminary overview advice from a leader, I would be delighted to assist and can best be contacted via the website as above. As ever, please spread the word to your connections here.
With thanks and best wishes,