Mason Hayes Solicitors

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Relationship with Counsel

One thing that I have learnt during the course of my training contract so far is the importance of a solicitor’s relationship with Counsel. Whilst much has been written recently regarding the changes in what is seen as the traditional relationship between the two branches of the profession, it seems to be accepted across the board that the relationship remains of vital importance.

Here at Mason Hayes, we have over the years built good relationships with certain Chambers and have a preferred list of barristers from which we instruct. Whilst we appreciate that it may sometimes be preferable for the client to instruct beyond this list, as a firm we believe it is essential to have an advocate in which you can place the trust of both you and your client.

As a trainee you are likely to be involved in the preparation of papers for Counsel. Whilst this may seem a menial task, it is actually of vital importance to the case at hand. Badly prepared papers could lead to Counsel giving the wrong advice in a conference or a Judge being unable to find the correct documents at a hearing. This could lead to frustration and, at the very worst, irritate a Judge so he does not look at your case in a favourable manner!

You may also be asked to draft Instructions to Counsel prior to a conference or a hearing. This gives you the opportunity to review the case and ensure that the barrister is fully prepared. Again, this is an important task as it is essential that a barrister has everything he or she needs to either give correct and appropriate advice or to stand up in court. In drafting the Instructions the key thing to remember is that the barrister is highly unlikely to have ever met the client and will not have been privy to all of the conversations you have had with your client with regard to the factual background and the way the client wants to manoeuvre the case. You must therefore ensure that your instructions are very clear and provide an adequate amount of detail.

Until next month,

Kimberley

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