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My clients come in all shapes and sizes, with different levels of sophistication, financial resources, legal or professional experience and most of all, varying time commitments.
But what they all have in common is that they are looking for cost effective ways of resolving their legal problems. Many have had bad and expensive experiences with previous lawyers and say that they find instructing a direct access barrister to be a breath of fresh air.
I try my very best to find the most appropriate and cost effective approach for the client. Yes, on some occasions that means sending the client on to someone cheaper – a costs lawyer or a more junior barrister if I think that would be in the client’s interests.
The aim of this page is to try to give a flavour of how I work, and the case studies below give some anonymised examples of what other clients have found helpful.
“It has been a pleasure working with Stephen… Stephen clearly went beyond our contract to understand our … case to ensure the best outcome. He took time to understand all the angles and perspectives of our claim in formulating the most effective strategy.” (direct access client, contract dispute)
I have been accepting clients under the direct access scheme for a couple of years now. It entails a different way of working from when I am instructed by solicitors, not just because of the direct and more frequent contact with the client: the case has not been filtered by another lawyer first, so I have more of a problem solving role and have to focus on sorting through the material to work out what is really important; I have to be more flexible to accommodate different ways of working and different fee arrangements.
I like this way of working and I think that my personality is well suited to it. I am approachable and understand the need to explain legal concepts and procedures to non-lawyers. I am diligent and reliable, and a common theme of feedback from clients is that they appreciate my working really hard to go the extra mile for them.
“Wow, you’re on it!…I have to say you really do give your clients a ‘Rolls Royce ‘ service. ” (direct access client, costs dispute)
These are some of my key insights based on my direct access experience:
My clients represented themselves in proceedings and were ordered to pay the other side’s costs. They were served with a very large Bill of Costs for the other side’s solicitors, which were to be assessed…
In this case the client had already commenced proceedings claiming breach of contract. They had drafted the Particulars of Claim themselves but these had been struck out by the court. Things were looking bleak…
A client approached me with a high value professional negligence claim. I gave them some positive advice on the merits of their claim. They had a limited budget but expert evidence would be needed…
This client had previously conducted some litigation involving a construction dispute. They won the case but then received an unexpectedly large costs bill (several times what they had been quoted) from their own solicitors…