Bar Council chair calls for diversification
Peter Lodder QC, incoming Chairman of the Bar Council has called for publicly funded barristers to diversify their practices.
Lodder, who takes over as Chairman of the Bar from Nicholas Green QC on 1 January 2011, said during his inaugural address that whilst he wishes to “re-assure able and hard-working members of the Bar, whose practices are threatened by the latest proposals that they continue to have a realistic future,” nevertheless if they are to sustain a publicly funded practice, “they will almost certainly need to develop a mixed practice, incorporating privately as well as publicly funded work. The cuts to legal aid rates have been too numerous and too deep for young barristers to continue to rely upon publicly funded practice.”
The call comes as the Ministry of Justice plans “fundamental reform” of the justice system, including cutting £350m from the legal aid budget, which risks leaving many vulnerable people without representation.
Peter Lodder QC said:
“There will always be a demand for high quality advocates and the public interest is served by ensuring the successful future of the Bar.
“My objective is to invigorate the entire Bar to be creative and entrepreneurial in the pursuit of new and better opportunities to provide legal services at home and abroad. The privately funded Bar has led the way in finding new markets to develop and it is time for all practitioners to follow that example.
“The Bar’s unique selling point is advocacy, delivered to a very high quality. We are the best at what we do and clients come to the Bar because of that ability. Traditionally, barristers, within reason, have turned their hands to different areas of practice. It is the skill set, core values and the training which define us as much as the practice area. There is a clear market benefit in having access to a pool of high quality, high value, expert advocates, able to offer a variety of services within that specialism.”