An interesting new provider of legal services was announced earlier this year, with logistics business Stobart Group launching Stobart Barristers. The service is aimed at reducing the cost to the public of legal disputes by linking them directly to barristers, thus eliminating the need for solicitors.
Better known for their fleet of green lorries bearing ladies’ names, Stobart Barristers is made up of a panel of over 1,000 barristers, juniors and QCs covering all areas of law and offering a fixed fee through a pay-as-you-go system.
Headed up by Group Legal Director Trevor Howarth, they have also set up a sister company Stobart Barrister Support Services who will provide the necessary paralegal support in preparing a case, instead of a solicitor. Howarth said ‘Our fixed-fee, pay-as-you-go approach gives back control to the individual client and for the time they can stop the process at any stage. From the bar’s point of view, they don’t have the infrastructure or ability to provide the preparatory and litigation work, or the marketing, so we provide that.”
Undoubtedly, any system that reduces the costs of pursing legal action will be popular with the general public who are becoming increasingly familiar with using well known brands to provide the more traditionally viewed professional services (eg Sainsburys Bank, Virgin Money, Co-op Legal). It will be interesting to see whether any more organisations follow Stobart’s lead and set up a similar service in competition which should have an even greater effect on providing lower costs to the client. However what it certainly has achieved is providing Solicitor’s firms with yet another challenge to overcome in the ever-changing world that is the legal sector.