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Direct Access and Referral Barrister.
at St Pauls Chambers, Leeds & Gough Square Chambers, London

Acquisition International Sector Talk January 2012

In this interview with Jeremy Barnett, Acquisition International, the leading online Venture Capital magazine sets out his vision for the future of legal services. Jeremy was awarded the UK Health and Safety Barrister of the year 2011 by the magazine in their international legal awards.

In this article, Jeremy deals with the emergence of Alternative Business Structures, that will change the legal landscape. Barristers in practice have had to be self employed in chambers until recent changes have deregulated not only the Bar, but also the Solicitors profession. 

Most media attention has been focussed on the emergence of ‘Tesco Law’  ie large consolidated law firms, with outside funding from either external investors or potential business partners. The first applications to the Law Society have already been made, it is believed from large law practices such as Irwin Mitchell, who may be considering floatation as a way to introduce outside capital. 

How will this affect the Bar? This is presently under discussion! If a Barrister wants to set up an ABS at present, the only route open is to apply to the Law Society for accreditation. This is an expensive and cumbersome process, due to the amount of necessary regulation required by those who seek to hold client funds. Most Barristers don’t want to hold such funds, so pressue is beginning to form to permit the Bar to partner with other professionals to deliver a range of services in certain market sectors. The BSB are currently examining ‘all options’.

Jeremy has been one of the exponents of ‘Direct Access’ work, [or ‘Public Access’ as it has now become known as].The Bar has an inherent commercial advantage as overheads in chambers are far less than those who offer legal services in established ‘magic circle’ law firms. He finds that as a first point of contact for many clients, he can either act himself, or introduce the client to other specialists, both Barristers and Solicitors who can provide a quick and effective service, often saving the client considerable sums of money.

Jeremy has conducted work, either on his own or with other barristers and/or solicitors in the following areas;

  • Independent general counsel advising in a multi million pound commercial action.
  • Directors Disqualification proceedingsVarious SRA investigations and hearings.
  • Advice and representation of Consultants in GMC proceedings.
  • General corporate advice re HSE, stock control systems and raising capital for the business.
  • Potential multi million pound medical and professional negligence claim
  • EU procurement rules re £2m Department of Energy and Climate Change grant
  • Planning issues around Carbon Capture Storage project
  • Private criminal and regulatory hearings in the magistrates courts

Jeremy is concentrating on low carbon innovation, specialising in ‘Smart Cities’, Energy Storage and ‘the Circular Economy’. He has formed a new consultancy called Resilience Partners Ltd with Professor Richard Williams OBE, Jon Price and Carl Chambers. Resilience will advise on the reduction of risk in new projects. He is also assisting the bid to bring the Green Investment Bank to Leeds, and hosts a group on Linkedin ‘Leeds City Region Green Investment Bank’.

To read the full article in Acquisition Internationl, please follow the link here.

Originally posted 2012-01-26 00:00:00.

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