Practice and Procedure

ABS offers barristers at ?75 an hour

PUBLISHED July 23, 2012

Monday 23 July 2012 by John Hyde

A new law firm which promises clients fixed fees and immediate face-to-face meetings with barristers has become the latest alternative business structure (ABS).

Red Bar Law was formed in September last year and applied to the Solicitors Regulation Authority for ABS status in January. Today the SRA confirmed it has become the ninth organisation to be granted a licence, which will be effective from 10 July.

The firm was set up by management consultant Hatti Suvari and solicitor John Esplen, a partner for seven years at south-east firm Barnes & Partners.

Suvari said Red Bar Law has a roster of 120 barristers for work in litigation, divorce, probate, contract law and professional negligence. 'I don't believe any other firm works in the same way that we do,' she said.

'We offer fixed pricing from the beginning and take them to the barrister from day one to give them a more informed opinion from the beginning.

'This gives us a chance to negotiate with the barrister - we can pay them within 24 hours of the case being taken on and they're happy to reduce their prices because they know they'll be paid immediately.'

The firm's website sets out the prices which it says clients can expect to pay for legal work. It promises that divorce cases with a small asset base will cost between £10,000 and £12,000, with cases involving a large asset base costing up to £35,000. Contract issues such as a sale or purchase of a business can be resolved for £4,500-£6,000, whilst litigation matters cost from £1,000 for small issues to £40,000 for complex cases.

The pricing structure stipulates that a barrister's opinion can be obtained from as little as £75 per hour. The firm states it will save at least 30% on costs for all clients, adding: 'A traditional law firm will often quote you a lower figure at the beginning of your matter. We strongly believe that clients are best served by knowing the realistic costs from the outset.'

Suvari said the firm, which is headquartered in Holborn, will later this summer seek to add to its staff solicitors who can work from home.