Jonathan Goldberg QC writes:
The winds of change are blowing hard at last through the English Bar as never before, and the once stifling antique regulations and the old-fashioned and frankly condescending and snobbish attitudes of the past are rapidly vanishing.
The Bar Direct Access Scheme means that clients can now approach me directly for the first time without the need for an instructing solicitor as middleman, and can negotiate fees directly with me or my clerk in a wide range of cases and trials. There are many cases which will no longer need "double-manning" with a solicitor or junior barrister at all.
Many trials by their nature however still require the assistance of solicitors to take witness statements, instruct expert witnesses or enquiry agents, conduct long correspondence and the like. I can recommend if so requested those of my favourite highly qualified solicitors, who have impressed me over the years with their diligence and zeal. Other cases will require me to lead specialist junior barristers. Because of my long career with many courtroom successes in a wide variety of trials both civil and criminal, I am likewise uniquely well positioned to recommend hand-picked individual junior barristers whom I have myself led, or who may even have been my courtroom adversaries in past cases. My sole criterion in choosing them is that each has greatly impressed me by outstanding professional competence and commitment to success.
I have always enjoyed a highly personal practice, with a loyal following of clients and instructing solicitors who come to me for my reputation as a trial advocate, my expertise and experience, and my highly successful record. I aim to provide my clients with a Rolls Royce service, in the select number of cases which I handle each year. I give only one level of service if I accept a brief. That is my absolute best.
I am a perfectionist and I am a hard taskmaster, because I know this is the only way to win cases. Any client who is forced to litigate, whether in the criminal or civil courts, wants and needs to win. In this area of life there are no consolation prizes for 2nd place.
Most mainstream sets of chambers suffer nowadays from ever higher overheads which must be passed on to the client. It is nowadays common for barristers in such sets to pay over 25 per cent of gross earnings for their chambers expenses alone. I came to realise that for a senior and established QC such as myself this was no longer necessary. There is nothing a mainstream set of chambers offers me or my clients which I cannot obtain directly if needed, passing on the savings in overhead to my clients.
Accordingly, I decided in 2011 to practise independently from my own North Square Chambers. Additionally I call on the services of two excellent and experienced in-house juniors, Jeffrey Israel and Julian Hunt, as required to assist me.
The kind of result I aim to achieve is often priceless to my clients. Those clients who entrust me with their cases can be absolutely confident they will receive a unique and dedicated approach from me, and from the solicitor or junior barrister in their legal team whom I advise and lead.