Equal footing

first_imgI was pleased to read Tim Lawson-Cruttenden’s response to the ‘solicitor bashing’ faced by solicitor-advocates of late (see [2009] Gazette, 14 May, 10). It is about time someone fought their corner. I am a trainee solicitor who has completed both the academic and advocacy stage of the higher rights development route qualification and I am currently completing my 12-month portfolio of experience. The training I have undertaken to date has been thorough and well rounded and, like many junior advocates, my skills will develop with time and practice. For many years during my professional infancy it will not be appropriate for me to represent my clients, as the experience of a more senior advocate would better serve the client. Of course, in such a situation, I do not hesitate to recommend and instruct the independent bar, whose services are invaluable to our profession. When clients’ interests are not advanced by the advocate (solicitor or barrister), then it is right that appropriately directed criticism should follow and, where necessary, the appropriate regulator must take action. Solicitor-advocates who combine professional conduct, reputation and competence in the practice and procedures of advocacy will never be second rate. A solicitor-advocate should stand on an equal footing with a barrister – there is no presumption of incompetence to be rebutted! Stuart Adams, Clifton Ingram, Wokinghamlast_img

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