To realise the opportunities the Scheme can offer, chambers and individual barristers need to have in place the appropriate infrastructure, proper processes and policies, and access to vital, supplementary support.
By its very nature, The Public Access Scheme demands significant changes to the way chambers and barristers have traditionally operated.
For example, clients inevitably ask barristers for assistance in relation to matters that are normally provided by solicitors. Therefore, barristers must be able to offer their clients considerable amounts of ancillary support, beyond their traditional advocacy roles.
Therefore, barristers must now take a client-centric approach. Their reliance upon on traditional clerking infrastructure within chambers (which is designed for professional communications, rather than for lay clients) is not an ideal consumer interface for ‘direct access’ work.
Providing high-level customer services to meet client expectations is difficult to achieve without the right support mechanisms in place. Barristers do not work 9-5 in an office and spend much of their time locked in court proceedings. In fact, a number of barristers cite ‘client correspondence’ to be the biggest burden of their ‘direct access’ work and ‘unrealistic client expectations’ can become a cause of considerable frustration.
In addition, ‘direct access’ work requires more meticulous record-keeping, which can have an impact on both barristers and their clerks, increasing the amount of workload overall.
Finally, one of the most important changes imposed by The Public Access Scheme is the way chambers and barristers generate new clients. Rather than relying on referrals from solicitors, working directly with clients means having to employ marketing and client acquisition skills to bring a flow of new consumers through a public window.
PXC was created in direct response to all of the above factors. We enable barristers to plug any gaps in their resources, assisting them to practice effectively in the ‘direct access’ space.
PXC features a strong base of senior and junior paralegals who can help barristers with ‘direct access’ requirements in all aspects of the legal process, including:
- document review
- witness statement preparation
- client management
Paralegals effectively substitute the work traditionally performed by solicitors in preparing the legal case. However, because paralegals are not regulated, their work can be performed at significant savings for the client, thereby preserving the advantages of ‘direct access’ in virtually all types of cases.
In addition, by drawing on the resources of its partner companies under the umbrella of The Kohen Rapoport Group, PXC can seamlessly provide barristers and chambers with a full range of complementary support, such as marketing, client acquisition, client communications, case financing, bookkeeping, IT services – all in a bespoke package tailored to the needs of an individual barrister or to supplement the activities of chambers.