Bragging barristers: Bar Council issues fresh guidance for online etiquette

Just weeks after Michael Wolkind QC was fined over website claims

The Bar Council has issued new advertising and website recommendations for bragging barristers who have a penchant for blowing their own trumpet online.

The four-page guidance warns barristers not to “make false claims on a personal or chambers” website.

Continuing, the fresh advice states “where claims of comparative quality or ability are made, it is better to make statements that can be justified objectively”. Providing a helpful example, the Bar Council paper reads:

‘[Name] has been ranked as a leading junior in [field of work] by [name of directory]’ is acceptable, whereas an assertion without evidence that ‘[Name] is one of the best barristers in the country in [field of work]’ needs very careful consideration as to how it could be supported if challenged, lest it be considered a misleading claim.

The Bar Council stresses that online claims that “bend the truth” about a barrister’s “knowledge, experience or abilities” are “unacceptable”.

The pointers come just weeks after two high profile barristers graced the pages of Legal Cheek over claims they made online.

Michael Wolkind QC — a criminal specialist at 2 Bedford Row — was fined £1,000 by the Bar Standards Board in February for, among other things, describing himself as “the UK’s top criminal barrister.” His colourful website also included one client testimonial that suggested the experienced silk “could get Stevie Wonder a driving licence”.

Just one week later Legal Cheek revealed similar online boasts by 25 Bedford Row’s Jeremy Dein QC, who described himself as “the UK’s best criminal defence barrister” on his website. Dein’s Google listing — which rates him five stars — contains a glowing endorsement from ‘Lee Dein’. Legal Cheek understands this is his wife.

Read the Bar Council’s recommendations in full below:

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23 Comments

Anonymous

We have come a long, long way from the days when even to have one’s name in the papers was frowned on, and crossing The Strand in wing collar and bands was regarded as “touting”. It was a bit dull living under such rules, but the bling barristers of today are a bit too much.

(2)(0)
Lord Harley

I may have bended space, time and the odd park bench, but I have never bended the truth

(20)(0)
Anonymous

What’s wrong with saying you’re amazing on your own website ffs?

I am the foremost fucking awesome conveyancing solicitor in England and Wales. Clients actually masturbate to the sound of my voice.

Now if the SRA has a problem with that they can do one!

(26)(2)
Anonymous

It’s always tricky when you want to say you’re “the best”.

Saying that you’re good at what you do won’t attract any criticism, claiming to be top of your game will.

(1)(1)
Pedant Cheek

Claiming to be ‘top of YOUR game’ is fine. That compares you only to yourself. ‘Top of THE game’, that’s another matter. But we can all agree that describing yourself as a ‘top’ lawyer is perfectly acceptable here at LC.

(1)(1)
Just Anonymous

Can we say we’ve been ranked as a ‘top’ barrister by Legal Cheek?

(14)(0)
Anonymous

Might as well just say you’re a barrister though – they’re one in the same claim.

(4)(0)
Anonymous

Funny how hardly any female barristers think they are “the best ever”. Classic male arrogance.

(8)(16)
Anonymous

Lucy McCormick used to have a ridiculous personal website also but it seems to have been taken down

(4)(0)
Psychotron of Counsel

On my linked in, I say I am an Anunaki from planet X and can psychotronically win every case with my psychotronic rays and no one has ever complained

(3)(1)
Anonymous

It seems to be largely senior criminal barristers boasting. Probably because (1) the criminal bar sucks for pay so it’s desperate times and (2) criminals are more receptive to boasts than are solicitors.

(3)(0)
Anonymous

Anyone foolish enough to believe such claims deserve the lawyers who make them. As a now retired judge in York once said “the punters don’t know shit from jam”.

(5)(0)

Comments are closed.