Tuesday 27 May 2014

Replacing the Barrister's Clerk

A new directory business called MyBarrister to help clients find barristers to give them direct access advise has sold shares on Crowdcube valuing the baby business at close to £4million.  The trademark was registered by Ronald DeKoven the CEO back in 2012 as an ordinary as opposed to a collective mark and the investors are not getting equity in that asset.

According to their press release:

The funds will be used specifically to expand the business, by growing the number of registered barristers and funding an increased marketing spend to deliver more potential clients direct to these barristers.

The target is to have 1,000 barristers signed up to myBarrister in the next 12 months.

myBarrister was launched in June 2013 to take advantage of regulatory changes that allow barristers to accept instructions directly from businesses and individuals, rather than exclusively through a solicitor. More than 100 barristers have already signed up to myBarrister, including a number of leading QCs. (The Duck quacks that there are only 2 from 5RB under the Intellectual Property section)

The myBarrister team consists of Ronald DeKoven as CEO (senior New York lawyer, English barrister, entrepreneur in the technology space), Bruce Webster, Director of Branding and Marketing, and Plamena Metodieva, Director of Operations. mybarrister has also partnered with Hewetson Shah, The Bar Council’s exclusive Service Partner for Legal Search and Recruitment, to further grow the established direct-access platform.

Now that we are all used to Internet directories for everything, it is not surprising that traditional clerking is under threat.

Will it be a resource for trademark agents to find counsel for opposition hearings? well not yet but I suspect the main market is the innocent consumer the regulator is there to protect. Small business too does have problems getting access to the right advice.

At present the copy on the MyBarrister website sells the bar as faster and better value than solicitors, which is a bit distasteful. As with any site the barristers are paying to have their profile on there. A barrister of 7+ Years' Call will pay an annual fee of : £1,200.00 + VAT = £1,440.00 which looks pretty fair if it delivers good quality leads on a regular basis but its clearly early days yet. The reason that this was an investable opportunity must be that the promoters expect to have a large regular barrister base  signed up to deliver a regular income. At the moment all the site does is advertise. Will that be enough? Time will tell.

Meanwhile if you need Intellectual Property advise try a solo practitioner

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the copy does seem rather insulting to many non-barristers I work along-side.

    It isn't clear what service they offer to barristers (I didn't manage to find the fee level you quoted), but in this age of disintermediation I wonder just how important such a service will be. My suspicion is google and similar services will dominate, but these things are always hard to call.