Apparently, over in the UK, barristers are not able to sue solicitors for not paying their bills; it’s a big deal that fee contracts between the two kinds of British lawyers are now becoming enforceable.
Granted, their system is more complex than ours: the barristers (trial specialists) are retained by the solicitors (the deal-makers) who in turn are hired by the clients with issues to resolve. Here, of course, it’s one-stop shopping for clients. I would expect that larger firms in the U.K. include both solicitors and barristers, and they would keep the work in-house. But maybe there’s a rule against that of which I am unaware. And just because a larger firm might do that does not mean that a smaller office could (or would) practice law in that way. Tradition counts for a lot in Merry Olde England.
I’ve no illusions that British lawyers are any more (or less) scrupulous than their U.S. counterparts, so it seems very odd indeed that a barrister, who surely works very hard to prepare a case for trial and then try the case, would not have any guarantee of being paid and rely instead only on the “honor system.” It sucks to work for free, no matter what country you’re in.
Well, I’m glad for the barristers that they’ll have enforceable fee contracts now – it only took them, what, nine hundred and fifty years to get them?