Direct access is currently having a powerful impact for Chambers and their Direct Access barristers and teams; it is creating opportunities for chambers to forge new initiatives and collaborate with other professional groups, businesses and individuals at a time of rapid change in the legal services environment.
Indeed, for many chambers it is the largest growth area with an acknowledgement that significant investment and knowledge is required to capture “first instance” leads in a competitive market, at a time where cost reduction and reducing income revenue streams from other areas are key drivers for change management.
Chambers have lower overheads and by offering the potential for reduced legal costs whilst providing top quality advice coupled with a first class service positively adds value to the whole experience for both existing and potential clients. Furthermore, many chambers are securing repeat work from those instructing them directly as they seek value for money and ensures they have greater control of their cases and subsequently the costs involved.
For both solicitors and barristers, the next generation of instructions will increasingly come from online and internet generated leads. The impact of social networking sites coupled with new and innovative initiatives will ultimately require them to find new marketing strategies and these new strategies will increasingly be online.
The problem for chambers is that their model of working is often ill suited to sharing the marketing costs of joint lead generation. Finding a cost effective solution to this has often proved to be a stumbling block to innovative new methods which could harness the reputation of chambers overall to Direct Access, rather than just an individual barrister.
Jonathan Maskew has been involved in the management and business development of barristers’ chambers for 25 years; from a junior clerk, to senior clerk and as Chambers Director. He is currently spearheading myBARRISTER, a new portal to help chambers obtain direct access instruction online.