Leading London Barrister Tim Kendal Launches Public Access Website

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Both corporate and private clients are permitted 'Public Access' to barrister services, and the number of those heading straight to a barrister for defence is increasing. Many barristers are now promoting themselves with websites to take advantage of those searching online for expert defence, says leading criminal barrister Tim Kendal.

After changes in the law, corporate or private defence cases can now go straight to 'Public Access' barristers, cutting out the need for a solicitor and potentially saving thousands in avoidable legal fees.

When charges arise there are two options that you can take- instruct a legal team consisting of solicitors to advise on defending the case, or directly approach a barrister. Since July 2004 the General Council of the Bar changed a ruling to allow individuals and companies alike to employ a barrister directly, under what is known as the Public Access Scheme.

Leading criminal barrister Tim Kendal has launched new website (http://www.timkendal.com), concentrating on marketing his own services as a barrister to potential clients. Barristers are now carving out a reputation for themselves (individually) more than ever, as they are viewed as a separate brand to the chambers where they are based.

"As a barrister specialising in serious fraud, bribery and corruption defence, it's important I can be found online as the need arises. For many of my clients they may only have one experience of needing help defending a serious fraud case. If they search for a legal solution using the Internet then it's crucial I have a solid online presence, otherwise they have no way of finding me [other than through chambers]. This is something that law and marketing have in common- things constantly change".

When Mr Kendal started out in the legal profession this direct approach wasn't allowed by the Bar Council, and often meant excessive charges were incurred by the defendant. Mr Kendal noted: "The reason why so many cases result in high costs is the duplication of the initial consultation time. Having met and subsequently being invoiced by a solicitor, defendants are often introduced to a barrister should the solicitor feel he or she is out of their depth [depending on the severity of the case]. The initial money that they have invested is pretty much wasted".

In the past, a solicitor was responsible for helping appoint a barrister to lead more complex cases, but this has been proving costly for organisations which found themselves (more often than not) requiring expert council.

With corporate legal bills under scrutiny by many larger organisations, the direct access barrister (http://www.timkendal.com/direct-access/) is now being seen as the first choice for any case which isn't considered a 'straight forward defence process'.

"Cutting out a solicitor is a cost saving exercise, selected by the defendant, even if barristers actually charge more on average than traditional lawyers. This is due to the fact the process saves time when compared to having a solicitor instruct a barrister at a later stage, when they may feel their experience is not at the level required to defend to a required standard" commented Mr Kendal.

Tim Kendal is a leading criminal and corporate defence barrister in London, practising from the chambers of William Clegg at 2 Bedford Row, London, UK.

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