To: The Partners
From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner
RE: PROCURECO WARS
Gentlemen, I write from our Caribbean island with news of an opportunity which I think we should give some attention to. As you know, it is 24/7/365 at M&D LLP. I have a lunch engagement, so I shall be brief.
1. Barristers’ chambers could provide a ‘lifeline’ to small criminal law firms, Bar Council chairman Nick Green QC has told the Gazette
2. I quote from the Gazette: “Green said that when the Legal Services Commission next tenders for criminal contracts, likely to be next year, he expects to see barristers’ chambers putting in bids for work using the model procurement company devised by the Bar Council, known as the ProcureCo.”
3. I rather like this bizarre word ‘procureco’ – pregnant with all manner of meanings, some possibly sinister. The idea is that Barrister chambers will rush into the market to mop up criminal work and provide a full service through a Procureco bolted on like a shed to the side of their practice – as is required under The Dragon’s Den rules – sorry, that should be, under LSA rules. This means that in addition to providing advocacy services which they can, clearly, provide, they will have to provide all the back up services as well currently being done by solicitors. This means they will have to do deals with solicitors and the minutiae of commerce – a prospect some at the Bar may not enjoy, or even, in the case of some of m’learned friends, positively recoil in horror from.
4. Unfortunately for Mr Green and his vision of a land of milk and procurecos – there is a rather large fly in the ointment. The fly is the plan by solicitors to blacklist any set of chambers setting up a procureco and bidding against them for work – resulting in those same barristers not being instructed by the firm or firms doing the black listing.
5. I would like to propose two alternate plans:
Plan A would involve encouraging as many sets of chambers in this field as possible to set up Procurecos, encourage – through twitter and articles strategically placed in law publications – solicitors firms to blacklist them – and set up our own Criminal Division to deal with criminal work and use the barristers who can’t get instructions from other criminal firms because they have been blacklisted. This should result in some satisfactory fee discussions with the clerks.
Plan B is that we buy a range of small criminal law firms – or enter into ‘affiliation’ arrangements with them providing our infrastructure and ‘ethos’ rather along the lines of claim farms in personal injury – and use the combined muscle of collaboration to create a large (and, ultimately, monolithic criminal law firm) and exercise a very real influence and control in and of the market. The latter plan is, of course, more expensive and for the longer term.
6. I end with a few choice points in the Comments section of Catherine Baksi’s excellent article for your perusal, delectation and delight:
Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 06/09/2010 – 13:07.
Can the Bar not see that by entering into direct competition with solicitors they will potentially reduce those who will instruct them…….. If the bar secure a contract in one area, they will get at most an eighth or a tenth of the work in that area, based on the reduced number of suppliers suggested by the MOJ. That means that the rest of the work in the area is undertaken by people they are now competing with. That could seriously limit the work they have coming in.
They need to think this through again.
Collaboration between specialist criminal legal practicesSubmitted by Allan Carton on Mon, 06/09/2010 – 13:40.
Solicitors should be taking the lead here.
Gentlemen – please note that Allan Carton seems to favour our Plan B option.
And, finally – I rather liked this comment:
Submitted by Pete Balchin on Mon, 06/09/2010 – 21:41.Ah, luverly…. We now start to see the real results of ‘franchising’ unravelling…
Suffered an accident at work? Contact us
for free expert compensation advice.
Making a will is simple with diy will packs.
Make a legally valid will from the comfort of your own home.
If you are contesting a will we can help.
We are the wills and probate dispute specialists.