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Embrace your inner Branson and Zuckerberg, barristers told

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Middle Temple wants members to come across less pompous

Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, and Mark Zuckerberg, the inventor of Facebook

Barristers are being asked to embrace the mindset of some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs as part of a training initiative aimed at improving their commercial savviness.

Middle Temple — one of the four historic Inns of Court — held an unusual training session last week in which barristers were encouraged to channel their inner Richard Bransons and Mark Zuckerbergs. The coaching evening was moderated by barrister turned comedian Clive Anderson, and led by corporate trainer Gavin Presman and self-styled “legal futurist” Chrissie Lightfoot. She told Legal Cheek:

“It was a real honour yet terrifying to share the stage with Clive Anderson. It’s a tall order (for a short woman) to follow in the footsteps of a comedian and intellectual giant… I’m hopeful that barristers and the legal profession at large will turn a corner in ROARing (reaching out and relating) empathetically with consumers and businesses alike in 2018 and beyond. The signs are already present.”

The initiative was part of the Inn’s Survive and Thrive Programme, and was aimed at encouraging barristers to think of themselves as “legal entrepreneurs” who know how to behave as an entrepreneur. According to the event listing, barristers and speakers explored: the importance of body language, how to work a room and how to win business in the legal industry.

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Adrienne Page QC, a barrister at 5RB and a Middle Temple bencher, helped organise the training. Speaking to Legal Cheek, she said:

“Middle Temple’s Survive and Thrive series is one of the most popular professional development and support programmes we provide for our members. We work closely with the Bar Council and the other Inns to look after the well-being of our students and practitioners.”

The anti-pompus pointers come just months after the Bar Standards Board (BSB) revealed a number of radical new training proposals that could, among other things, spell the end of compulsory Inns of Court dining sessions. Under the current rules wannabe barrister must complete 12 qualifying sessions, made up of formal dinners, debate nights, lectures and workshops.

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13 Comments

Anonymous

Rumpole would be turning in his grave.

Anonymous

What a load of bollocks. Barristers are barristers not fu{king entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are in the business of making money for themselves, barristers are supposed to be dispensing disinterested legal advice in the client’s best interests. Honestly, if this nonsense continues further, there will soon be no difference between a Barrister and a Fulham estate agent.

Anonymous

Hardly a reassuring role model given the allegations made about the way in which he got Facebook.

Mr. Charles

Middle have been doing these events for years, they are always good – would recommend

Not Amused

No thank you.

Anonymous

Come along and judge for yourselves

Trumpenkrieg

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Anonymous

Funny that Branson and Zuckerberg are one of the most pompous people in the world: see for example Zuckerberg’s grand tour of all 50 states in the US to “understand the people” in his bid for the 2028 presidential elections.

Anonymous

Helps if you have a billion quid.

Anonymous

ROARing (reaching out and relating)

YES, AND HO!!

Anonymous

There’s something almost endearing about the fact that barristers think the best way to come across less pompous is to act like Branson and Zuckerberg.

At least they’re trying I guess?

Anonymous

Why is LC obsessed with dining?

Not not amused

This is to be applauded.

The junior bar is one of the most competitive industries to earn a living (whether people believe that or not). Work is down, solicitors are keeping it in house, LPC law have undercut the market dramatically. There are loads of junior barristers that quietly die on the vine (leave chambers and do something else) as they can’t afford the cost of self employed practice. This reality is not just confined to the weaker sets, but is a reality across the Bar. Any junior with a moderately successful practice is most likely to be alive to the fact that there is huge movement across different chambers. This is not only due to recruiters encouraging lateral moves to generate profit, but also due to the fact that chambers are struggling to retain junior barristers with decent practices. There is a huge tussle for talent at the moment.

So, equipping yourself with fundamental business skills is likely to help. Although, really, we are not entrepreneurs but self employed consultants. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. The starting point is to do the basics really well. Answer emails and the phone, hit deadlines, be accessible, personable and easy to use. Rarely, is new business going to be won on the back of a exquisitely executed cross examination (though, that is important as well… If for the internal market (other barristers and the judiciary) if nothing else

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