Caven launches new service to boost Public Access to barristers


Press release - November 2009

Caven, the UK’s leading provider of client referrals to a network of over 500 UK law firms, last month launched a service for barristers’ chambers. The new service is designed to help barristers capitalise on the new Public Access Rules which allow individuals and organisations to instruct barristers directly rather than through a solicitor.

The advertising service aims to repeat the success of its offering for solicitors and become the largest single source of public access work for barristers. Caven is used by over 500 hundred law firms including a number of Top 100 firms.

Caven says that although Public Access rights took effect in 2004 it still represents a tiny fraction of all barristers’ work.

According to Caven, the vast majority of potential users of barristers remain unaware that they are able to instruct a barrister themselves on most civil matters, and that doing so can often help them get legal advice faster and more cost-effectively.

Caven currently refers qualified prospective clients to a growing network of over 500 law firms throughout the UK across all areas of civil law. Caven says around 300 of the 6,000 requests for legal advice it receives in each month are suitable for barristers under Public Access.

Regulatory constraints prevent Caven from providing clients’ details to chambers in the same way that they do for solicitors’ firms.  Instead this service will, via a freephone number, direct clients to the barristers’ chambers in their area that have the relevant expertise to offer advice on their legal matters. However, Caven says even this will radically extend the reach of barristers to end users and increase awareness about Public Access.  Caven is also actively advertising for Public Access clients on the Internet and it is receiving enquiries specifically for Public Access barristers from suitably well-informed prospective clients. 

James Vintin, founder of Caven, comments: “By significantly increasing the number of referrals solicitors receive our existing service has directly contributed to an often considerable rise in fee income amongst our network of law firms. 10 new law firms are joining us each month based on our proven track record and we now hope to mirror this success with our service for barristers.”

“Barristers’ chambers are increasingly focusing on ways to further their business development. This will be a low cost way for them to demonstrate their ability to provide specialist legal knowledge and advice in an efficient way directly to the public.”

James Vintin explains that as barristers have traditionally marketed themselves to solicitors their marketing budgets have not been of the scale necessary to take full advantage of public access.

James Vintin says: “Essentially our service allows barristers chambers to leverage off our advertising and marketing budget at a very low cost.”

“We think the service will go a long way towards raising awareness amongst those users of legal advice that would benefit from direct access to a barrister and who will now be able to achieve better value for money as well as greater choice.”

Public Access Rules are expected to be extended within the next few months. Currently the Public Access Rules do not apply to criminal, family or immigration law but the Bar Council is in talks with the Ministry of Justice in order to widen the scope of the rules.

Adds James Vintin: “The UK legal market is going through a period of significant change and Public Access has the potential to offer considerable benefits to both the Bar and to all those clients who may be unaware that they can instruct a barrister directly to advise them on their particular case.”

Press enquiries:

Tamara Smith
Marketing Manager
Tel:020 8971 0235

Jonathan Stevens
Rhizome PR
T + 44 (0)020 8971 0235
M + 44 (0)020 8971 023579

020 8971 0235
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