In-house advocacy teams more efficient and cost effective than chambers

TBH this is a surprising assertion to me bearing in mind that barristers' hourly rates are lower than equivalently experienced solicitors and (putting it gently) inhouse advocates are not generally obviously better than self employed bazzas.

I wonder if there is any evidence or analysis supporting their position.

I guess if you're a very litigious company employing someone full time to deal with it is cheaper than employing outside people on an hourly basis.  Isn't this why companies that get to a certain size employ a general counsel because it's cheaper than paying hourly rates to outside firms?

this thread is presumably designed to get on the featured discussion board?

SS: that is not what this is about at all: the clients will still be paying for external lawyers

Guy: it'd be surprising if it doesn't turn up there tbh

Oh I see I thought it meant companies employing their own advocacy teams.  I can see how there would be saving in some of the time as you'd avoid the situation where the solicitor spends months or even years in correspondence then hands over to counsel who's got to review everything from scratch.  If they were included from the start they'd be up to speed well ahead of a hearing.

This is obvious self-serving bollocks by someone whose career high is being at DWF (?!?!?!) trying to create a bollocks start-up side play for the firm for it to turn a penny.

Secondly, he's visibly grimacing in his photo and wearing a ridiculous purple chequered / striped Burton suit. His Poundshop glasses don't even have lenses in them.

It may work for DWF , especially for the huge amount of routine(ish) insurance work they do for insurers across most county courts . Their in house capability consist of very, very junior Bazzas , so the model probably works well. 

for more complex high end insurance work , that ends up at or near trial they will still use the usual suspects . Herbies really have a great in house advocacy department, as good as any chambers on pound for pound basis .it was never their intention to have 80”members” but they have cherry picked some of the very , very best Silks and senior juniors at the commercial Bar, as have Clydes 

Heff , DWF would have done some serious modelling, and worked out they can make more profit themselves , and save insurers money.

Seems daft.

In-house teams would be better off recruiting decent solicitors who give proper advice rather than spaffing a fortune on externals.

Then instruct Counsel for advocacy. 

For complex legal work, junior barristers are exceptionally good value. Most solicitors are twice the hourly rate for half the quality.

There is absolutely no way a barrister of that quality can be tempted in house. It's a lifestyle choice to do a range of interesting and academically challenging work. So you're not comparing like with like.

Unless you are talking about a business with a large volume of noddy hearings which any advocate can do, in which case it is obv less efficient to pay even a small brief fee than have a full time low-paid person who couldn't get tenancy (harsh but the reality is v competitive).

Spurius, are you saying those firms that have well developed “ in house chambers “ have not been able to recruit genuine talent from the independent Bar?

Let’s just get rid of the distinction between barristers and solicitors 

And yes junior counsel hourly rate is good value for paperwork and advisory stuff , less so for briefs and refresher fees .

what this tells me solicitor hourly rates are far too expensive , much of it driven by the huge amount of wasteage that is prevalent in law firms .

Herbies really have a great in house advocacy department, as good as any chambers on pound for pound basis .it was never their intention to have 80”members” but they have cherry picked some of the very , very best Silks and senior juniors at the commercial Bar, as have Clydes 



"For complex legal work, junior barristers are exceptionally good value. Most solicitors are twice the hourly rate for half the quality."


Let's remember that the whole concept of outsourcing advocacy  is a peculiar English concept, not practiced elsewhere, even in most other common law jurisdictions.

It's utterly bizarre to have the conduct of the case throughout only to hand over the key part of it to someone else. 

I also don't understand how clients still tolerate it.

'Yes you see you have to pay one of our associates £500ph to speak to you to understand the case, but then a totally different person, not actually employed by us, will come in and charge £700ph to read into the case again and actually research the law and speak to the judge. What's the point of the first person, you ask? Errr... well, we have this "split profession" in this country you see, so that's the way it's done. By the way, I forgot to mention that all the meanwhile a partner in our firm will also be reviewing everything the first and the second person did and charging £750ph. What value does the partner bring you ask? Err, well you see he advises on "strategy" '. 

I say this as a litigator. 

Heff you disagree that Herbies have not recruited some serious talent from the independent bar , ditto Quinn Emmanuel . Keen to hear your thoughts 

Indeed Barry , a lot of the big American clients with multi million pound YOY legal spends are pushing back , hence the relative growing piece in the advancement of in house chambers .

a major US firm is currently attempting to recruit a number of leading chancery and com lit practioners from the independent bar . They are apparently favouring in an ideal word those who were previously solicitors . Packages are said to make those they have approached as unbelievable . I know this because my best mate from Bar school who I am still very close with was approached . He is in the 10-15 year call bracket at a MC set and has a number of legal 500 and chambers and partners recommendations( tier 2/3/4) and has done since about 5 years call 

Tbf, he knows his rugby but I wouldn’t go to him for courtroom advocacy. 

Ebitda surely your mate could make more at the bar? As if he's not coming in as partner he'd cap at say 300k at a yank shop?

 Clive partner equivalent, circa 500 k guaranteed plus bens . He probably bills (not receipts) that gross 

Ah ok that makes more sense. I'm a similar vein re Herbies do you know how much someone like Tom Leech QC would be on? Always assumed it would be less than he could have had at the Bar so wondered why would you go work for a firm.

I have to say heffalump, our in house employment advocate is miles better than the mid level advocates from city firms we had when she was on maternity.  She knows her stuff, not just the advocacy, she's better at settlement and nuancing to our industry.  She would have far more on her feet experience I suggest because we have a lot of staff, so there is always something going through the system.

Clive the attraction can be any number of things including a change of scenery I guess.

But I suspect the minimum guarantee earnings, pension, and all the other fancy benefits you get make it worth your while . And Senior /QCs are not routinely back to back busy with trials , which is where the real cash is .only 200 barristers billed 500k gross last year according to the bar council. Less chambers fees, travel, miscellaneous expenses , insurance, travel, you’re probably talking 375 pre tax, and that’s assuming you collected it all and had no aged debt, which is extremely unlikely.

DW: no doubt - that's a very specific form of advocacy though!

Ebitda has a point that many yanks, including yank firms, hate the split profession

I'm certainly not saying that inhouse advocacy units don't have a viable future - just dubious that they offer higher quality, or are more efficient/cost effective

Heff I’m not saying higher quality but just as good . If Herbies , Clydes , and Eversheds couldn’t make the numbers work they wouldn’t do it I suspect.

Agree junior barristers are great value - used a newbie at a leading set in my area for a couple of things five or six years ago and, despite appearing to be about 12 years old, he was astonishingly good - technically, strategically, and commercially. Cost peanuts (relatively speaking). Rapidly built a reputation and he’s really not cheap now. 

Ebdita- do you have a link to that bar council stat (only 200 billing over GBP500k gross)? 
Are you sure it’s not only 200 who have reported their earnings to the bar council?  

@  dead, I can't link, but go to legal futures, and in their search tool, enter barristers earnings. These are official, reported mandatory figures from the Bar Council