Friday, 15 April 2011

Fay Gillott

Good to catch up over lunch with Fay Gillott, Chief Exec of multi-practice set 7 Bedford Row. A brilliant strategic thinker and planner, she is an excellent person to talk to about the pressures and challenges facing the modern Bar, and to hear how the best of the crop are responding positively.  Change is not an option: it's an imperative.

Not only do barristers need to take account of the likely impacts of the Legal Services Act, as do their solicitor peers, in addition those involved in criminal  legal aid work have to contend with seismic changes to the system of how the work is meted out and costed.

It is the sets with strong leadership and members who are used to collaborating well together for business that will prosper in this era of change.   In this regard, 7 Bedford Row is excellently positioned.

To some ears, this may sound like a statement of the obvious, but those familiar with the inner workings of barristers sets will recognise the reality that there are still many sets out there who, quite frankly, still don't operate as a collective, but a conglomeration of sole practitioners; the 'independent mindset' of the advocate spilling over into how they behave in business with one another.  I was even told in a meeting with one set, who shall of course remain nameless, that in their view  their barristers competed against one another for work, so how could they possibly work together on a business plan or pool resources for marketing and promotion.

Refreshing to talk to Fay about how her set is gearing up for change, about the level of engagement in the internal discussion and their ideas for evolution.

* * *

Oops!  Who noticed the apology in yesterday's Times to Simon Cowell, currently accused of helping a tycoon friend hide his wealth from wife Michelle Young (accusations which Cowell strongly denies).  The apology relates to a reporter's mistake in saying that Cowell's own ex-wife was suing him.  Now there's a man I wouldn't like to cross! 


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