Eddie Stobart – barrister at law?

Eddie Stobart – barrister at law?

In one of the more unlikely moves in the increasingly deregulated and undisciplined world that is the legal services market of the future, Eddie Stobart, the road haulage group has launched a direct access barrister service.

Headed up by Stobart’s legal director Trevor Howarth, the new business will link individuals directly to barristers and thus cut out the middleman – namely the the solicitor.

The idea apparently came after the Stobart legal team had been working directly with barristers in 2008 where they were so impressed by the savings they made that it occurred to them that they could operate barrister direct instruction as a business in its own right.

The web site, entitled Stobart Barristers, states that there were two reasons for the move:

  1. We hate waste. We work hard to minimise non-productive time and maximise the utilisation of our fleet. It’s the same with the law – we think dealing with legal issues the old way is just wasting money, and
  2. We’ve done it ourselves. We started going direct to barristers four years ago and we know it works. It saves us time and cost and we’re sure it will do the same for you.

Trevor Howarth said:

“Consumers don’t know where to look or which barrister to pick, leaving many to still having to rely on the advice of their solicitor. But in doing so they are forced to pay significant fees. Our model cuts out waste and opens up access to a national panel of barristers that are selected for their ability to meet our clients’ needs.”

In his Blog on the Stobart Barrister web site, Howarth accuses the legal sector of being “archaic” and “still coming to terms with changes designed drag it into modern practice” whilst the public feels “frustration at not always knowing why we were paying certain fees, and why there were such smoke and mirrors involved”.

We await with baited breath as to whether the Stobart fleet of trucks now starts to carry the names of the drivers’ favourite QC or whether it is the barristers who will have to have the wives/husbands/lovers name embroidered onto their gowns.

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