2015 Legal Awards

M&A awards Legal Awards 2015 35 LEGAL awards Our practice started in 2011 and we have five members at present. Personally, I practice in civil, commercial, construction and public law. We also have a personal injury and medical negligence specialist, an Immigration specialist and also do corporate crime and regulatory work. Generally speaking, most of our clients are either SMEs or their directors and other professionals. I began my career in what we call a “general common law set” and practiced in every area of law you can think of, except ecclesiastical law. That broad introduction, together with completing part of my training in Ma- laysia and Ireland and my consultancy work with Prati Legal in Rome, has been gradually whittled to a more manageable field. Nonetheless, having worked in such a variety of different areas has helped me understand the work the other members of chambers do and also means that we can work closely together for the benefit of clients. From my experience, barristers and their clients need to be clear about what their role is. A Barrister provides you with high quality advice and representation, and that advice and representation is cost effective because it is focussed. The danger for barristers in direct access work is that they become drawn into supporting the client in a broader sense or engaging in protracted correspondence with the other side and thereby lose their focus. Despite the potential dangers behind Direct Access, being able to come directly to a barrister is a real advan- tage for a client who needs swift, accurate, business focussed advice on a discrete legal issue. Most of the direct access work for all our members falls into this category. In my field, a client that wants to use direct access for any steps after the initial advice needs to have the relevant skills and support network to manage the litigation, arbitration or mediation with a barrister on hand to advise. Direct access saves money only when somebody other than the barrister is doing the work the solicitor would normally do. Often I find myself providing initial advice and then putting the team together for the client to enable the matter to be dealt with in accordance with my advice. I think it is as acting as a legal consierge. As for our approach, we find that barristers have to focus on quality, and we are specialist advocates and experts in our fields. We have the time and space to think deeply about the case and the experience to know how that case will play out in court. For that reason, I am always careful not to take on too many clients or to take on clients who have needs that we can’t meet, unless I can refer them to somebody else (a solicitor or business adviser) who can deal with the less case critical issues. Personally I regard a case that settles without litigation, or at an early stage, as a real success. Litigation rarely benefits anyone (except the lawyers), and we often get referrals from other lawyers for interesting cases that fall more within our areas of expertise. I always find that one of the highest compliments is to be recommend- ed by our peers. I firmly believe that the future for the Bar is much like its past, where individuals or small groups of advocacy and law specialist provide high quality legal advice and representation. When barristers spend their time engaging in protracted correspondence with the lawyers on the other side, or spend too much time on client support that isn’t case critical, they lose the ability to provide that deeply thought out legal analysis that a client really needs. With so many challenges and opportunities facing us a present, we are always looking towards any emerging trends or developments that may impact our clients. We believe that we are pioneers in our industry, in the sense that 1215 Chambers was one of the first boutique sets, and the fact that many others have since arisen and that suggests to me we are doing something right. I formed one of the first phase of Barrister Only Entities and now practice as Richard O’Sullivan Ltd. At first there were twelve, and now there are over one hundred. Again, I believe that is evidence of staying ahead of the curve. Looking further afield, the greatest challenge facing us internationally is always the legal culture. Good British lawyers are generally a pragmatic bunch, and I think 1215 Chambers has a particularly good understanding of the business case for legal action (or inaction). Regretably, the legal culture in other countries we work with is often not so outcome focussed. Looking further ahead, we are launching a new vehicle where we hope to put the consierge approach to legal services on the map for SMEs- It’s tentatively titled “Coherent Law”. I also run a training company Be Coherent Ltd (www.becoherent.ltd.uk ) with another member of chambers and we’ll be launching a series of new public speaking and communications courses at the start of 2016. Company:1215 Chambers/ Richard O’Sullivan Ltd/ Be Coherent Ltd Name: Richard O’Sullivan Email: Richard.osullivan@1215chambers.com Web: www.1215.london www.osulllivanslaw.com www.becoherent.ltd.uk Address: 1 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1BR Telephone: +442032911215

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