Practice Management

Barristers don’t surf

<p>Tim Kevan takes a break from the Bar to go surfing and write a novel </p> <p>One of the joys of being a barrister is that you are self-employed and therefore get a lot more freedom over your own destiny than many might otherwise have in an employed position. Well, that’s in theory at least and I accept that it might sometimes appear illusory when there’s a backlog of papers sitting on your shelf and court days stacked to the horizon. For my part, I practised as a barrister for over ten years at the common law Bar at 1 Temple Gardens (now Temple Garden Chambers) in London and I had been able to use this flexibility to take breaks by the coast to catch the odd wave when the surfing conditions were right. It also meant that I’d had the chance to indulge another hobby—writing—as well as starting a couple of businesses. But as each of these things started to take more time, I eventually decided to make the jump and take a full-time break from the Bar for a while. </p>
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Meet the lay regulators

<p>David Wurtzel begins his introduction of the lay members of the Bar Standards Board </p> <p>Because they are not elected—although they are appointed in accordance with Nolan principles—the lay members of the Bar Standards Broad (“BSB”) have tended to be remote from ordinary barristers both in terms of what they do and of who they are. Counsel therefore decided to begin to introduce the lay members to its readership. There are seven lay members (including the Chair, Baroness Ruth Deech) on the BSB who are (in alphabetical order): Mrs Sarah Brown; Dr John Carrier; Ms Paula Diggle; Dr Vicki Harris; Professor Peter Hutton; and Richard Thompson OBE. David Wurtzel, Counsel’s Consultant Editor, met three of them in January and February 2010. </p>
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Chris Owen

<p>Name: Chris Owen </p> <p>Position: CEO </p> <p>Chambers: St Philips </p>
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Authorisation to practise arrangements

<p>The Bar Standards Board has recently published a consultation paper on proposals for revisions to barristers’ practising arrangements. In particular the paper covers: </p> <p>1. The introduction of an authorisation to practise regime;<br />2. The regulatory arrangements for barristers who do not have full practising entitlements; and<br />3. The relationship of the above to the Barristers’ Register </p> <p>Section 13(2) of the Legal Services Act 2007 states that a person is entitled to carry on a reserved legal activity where the person is an authorised person in relation to that activity. Reserved legal activities are: </p> <p>1. The exercise of a right of audience<br />2. The conduct of litigation<br />3. Reserved instrument activities<br />4. Probate activities<br />5. Notarial activities and<br />6. The administration of Oaths </p> <p>Authorisation to carry out these activities falls to the relevant approved regulator. The BSB must therefore have in place arrangements that explicitly grant barristers authorisation to undertake reserved legal activities. The consultation paper puts forward proposals for an authorisation to practise regime for barristers. It is proposed that the new regime would be introduced towards the end of 2011 so that it is in place for renewals at the start of 2012. Transitional arrangements will be required. </p> <p>The new regime will impact on all practising barristers and views are encouraged on both the broad principles of the proposals as well as the practicalities of how they might operate. </p> <p>The paper also explores options for the regulation of barristers without full entitlement to practise. This is an issue with a long and complicated history and views are sought on whether the proposed approach, as set out in the paper, is practicable and proportionate. </p> <p>A copy of the paper can be found on the BSB’s website (<a href="http://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk">www.barstandardsboard.org.uk</a>) The deadline for responses is 1 June 2010. </p>
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The Review of CPD

<p>Education and training for the Bar is a complex process which, first and foremost, needs to be approached in an holistic way. The different stages - academic, vocational and pupillage, not to mention further continued professional development (CPD) for new and experienced practitioners - need to be considered as part of an overall ‘run-through’ process. They should not be considered ‘in silos’. For this reason, the Bar Standards Board is most fortunate that Derek Wood QC, having chaired both the Review of the BVC and the Review of Pupillage, is now leading a major review of CPD. </p> <p>CPD requirements were first introduced to New Practitioners at the Bar in October 1997 and this is now mandatory for all practising barristers. Since 2006, the Bar Standards Board has a duty to ensure that the standards and quality of the courses is consistent, that CPD is fit for purpose, and that CPD is undertaken by practitioners in line with requirements. </p>
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Lawyers at Long On

<p>Which lawyers have played first class cricket? Daniel Lightman investigates </p> <p>There is a long tradition of lawyer-cricketers. Perhaps the first was William Byrd (1674–1744). Born in Virginia, where his father was an early settler from England, he was sent to English public school and went on to be called to the Bar and join the Inner Temple. In 1704, on his father’s death, Byrd returned to Virginia to take over his family’s estates, and is said to have introduced cricket there. Between 1709 and 1712 William Byrd kept a secret diary, the entry for 25 April 1709 recording: “I rose at 6 o’clock and read a chapter in Hebrew. About 10 o’clock Dr Blair, and Major and Captain Harrison came to see us. After I had given them a glass of sack we played cricket. I ate boiled beef for my dinner. Then we played at shooting with arrows and went to cricket again till dark.” </p>
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Awareness Toolkit training

Equality & Diversity<br /><br />In response to a growing demand from the Bar for Equality and Diversity Awareness Training, and to the recommendation for such training in the Neuberger Report on Entry to the Bar, the Bar Council Equality and Diversity Committee has produced a diversity training toolkit. The model is designed to raise awareness of the equality issues that arise at the Bar through a series of worked exercises and is drawn from the practical experience of applying equality and diversity policies in chambers. The course is accompanied by written information on the equalities legislative framework and sessions are aimed at providing a brief and practical introduction to the diversity compliance requirements that affect the Bar. The programme runs for one and a half hours and qualifies for CPD accreditation. Courses based on the diversity toolkit are open to barristers, pupils, clerks and practice managers. Chambers Equal Opportunity Officers are particularly encouraged to attend. If you would like to attend a course please contact Angela Campbell at the Bar Council in the Equality and Diversity Unit <a href="mailto:acampbell@barcouncil.org.uk">acampbell@barcouncil.org.uk</a>
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Executive Recruitment

<p><em><strong>Simon Chadwick highlights the issues for chambers to consider when recruiting a chief executive.</strong> </em> </p> <p>There are 690 chambers in the UK. Of those 67 have a serving chief executive or a practice director. Due, mainly, to the simple business structure of a typical barristers’ set, the job titles differ. However both roles show a degree of overlap and in some cases the responsibilities are identical. </p>
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Taking a Break?

<p><em><strong>Freya Newbery explains the issues surrounding career breaks for barristers and reports on the recent Bar Council “Managing Career Breaks” seminar.</strong> </em> </p> <p>As part of its commitment to retaining women in self-employed practice, the Bar Council hosted an immensely practical half-day seminar, “Managing Career Breaks”, on 23 October 2009. The seminar provided practical guidance to both barristers beginning a break or planning to return to practice following maternity leave or a career break, and those in chambers—such as equal opportunity officers, clerks and practice managers—responsible for managing career breaks and helping returners to re-build their practices. </p>
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The “all change” road show

<p>At  a packed South Eastern Circuit “road show” on 12 January Baroness Deech, Chair of the Bar Standards Board (“BSB”), described the changes made by the BSB last November to the way in which barristers can supply legal services as “the most important changes in this generation of the Bar”.  </p> <p>She emphasised that she had no wish to preside over fusion and that the decisions were not driven by “the need of the Bar to earn a living”; but rather to  permit structures consistent with the principles in the Legal Services Act 2007. <br />The meeting was only one of several planned in the winter to test the views of the Bar on the way forward while Legal Services Board approval is pending on the proposed amendments to the Code. </p>
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