In-house teams instructing the Bar has gone mainstream over the last ten years. LB assesses how far direct access can go.
Twenty years ago the idea of any person instructing the Bar other than a private practice solicitor was frowned upon. Although as qualified solicitors in-house counsel always had the right to instruct barristers, convention dictated private practice lawyers acted as gatekeepers of the Bar for companies seeking advice on litigation. But, as the rules have changed and in-house lawyers have expanded their remits, corporate legal teams have come to appreciate the benefits of direct interaction with barristers.