Going Public

One website is simply not enough these days. And so I have been working on a little side project (to the enormous detriment of my yet-to-be-begun redesign of poor old Pink Tape).

Ladies and Gentlebugs, may I present to you the lucyreed.co.uk public access website. Perty ain’t it?

A word or two about the why.

Because we at the bar are pretty inefficient when it comes to direct access enquiries. They take up lots and lots of clerking time, to the intense irritation of our lovely clerks, and rarely bear fruit. Many cases are unsuitable, a high proportion of enquiries are sent on a whim (the perils of easy clicking) and are not seriously pursued, particularly when money is mentioned), and others cannot be processed speedily enough to deal with a time sensitive issue, because the process of information gathering is not streamlined. This means lots of wasted time and effort for me, my clerks AND most importantly, for litigants in person frantically shopping around for some help, buzzing around the internet in a cloud of confusion.

So this website is designed to do two things : to inform and to triage. If a client properly understands public access before they make an enquiry (and in my experience they are utterly bewildered by it) then they may form a view its not for them and be diverted away from a pointless enquiry. If they do make an enquiry they are able to make it on an informed basis, and understanding their own responsibility with respect to the conduct of their case.

And in order to make an enquiry a litigant must answer some basic questions about their case and what they want from me. So the first contact I get contains the information I really need rather than the information a client thinks I need. If I can tell it’s not suitable from the outset that’s that. Nobody hanging around drumming fingers waiting for an answer. If it is suitable we can get off to a running start with the basic information gathered at the outset.

I think that’s what annoying management speakers call “Win Win” (yeurk). I know there are people I can help through public access – and hopefully this website will help me find them, and them find me.

We’ll see how it goes. It might not work. I’d welcome feedback, likes and shares.

Loo

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16 thoughts on “Going Public

  1. My first comment is that you’ve made the link to http://www.lucyreed.co.uk which doesn’t work. You need to change it to http://lucyreed.co.uk which does seem to work, or get the URL http://www.lucyreed.co.uk to point to your webserver.

    Maybe you need a little help with the technical side of how the internet works?

  2. Brilliant stuff. An absolute benchmark. Captures exactly the right feel.

    It’s a shame there aren’t a lot more out there just like you…

  3. Hi Lucy,
    My browser adds a ‘www’ prefix to your new site’s url, which results in a server not found error. You may want to configure the site for access with and without the ‘www’ prefix.

  4. Thanks Robin :-)
    John / Brian – fixed now. Just a silly DNS settings error – too late last night to fix. Thanks for pointing it out. :-)

  5. Sorry Lucy, the link is still broken when I click it. http://www.lucyreed.co.uk doesn’t work either.

    It returns “Oops! Google Chrome could not find http://www.lucyreed.co.uk

    Did you mean: http://www.­lucyreed.­com

  6. I know – its just the changed settings taking a while to filter thru – annoying but all will be well later…check back this evening. :-)

  7. Lucy,
    Great to see your new site up and running … wishing you every success. The wider the communication and understanding the greater the uptake and opportunity for us all.
    We at myBarrister are seeing a huge increase in the generation and conversion of direct access work … and why not … it gives the client greater control of the matter and no surprises with regards to fees.

  8. Clean, excellent layout, informative – I agree with Robin ap Cynan.

  9. You must be popular bandwidth has been exceeded.

  10. Well, more popular than anticipated at any rate! Thanks – am on it already…

  11. Or you put large images and flash animations on the site and didn’t spend the money on a decent web hosting plan. Rule 1 – make sure the punters can actually access the service you’re selling.

  12. I am defending a case against a Claimant who instructs counsel under direct access and it is not a good experience. In practice the Claimant – a man of limited education – expects “the lawyer”to do it all – why would he not? – and counsel does not have the resources – or the IT knowhow – of a solicitor’s office. I can see that I am going to have to do the bloody trial bundles and I am not pleased.

    So please don’t be like that!

    • I think you need to be comparing direct access to a scenario with an out and out litigant in person – that has to be better than a litigant in person oppo with no legal advice or representation? You’d still have to do the bundles then too…. It ISN’T direct access counsel’s role to sort out bundles etc – although I’d certainly advise a client on what he needs to do if he is responsible for bundles. Unsure how many of us will take up the opportunity to conduct litigation come Jan 2014… suspect there will not be a rush immediately… :-)

  13. True enough, I suppose. I have always argued that while as solicitor for the Defendant I may have to prepare one bundle it is for the Claimant in person or on direct access to make the copies. And when they say “I haven’t got access to a copier” I say “Yes they have, there are copying bureaux on every High Street – they must put their hands in their pockets and pay for it”.

    In the Employment Tribunals that has led to Claimants deciding not to go on! It sounds harsh, but there is no reason why Defendants should meet Claimants’ costs, there or in the courts.

  14. Very nice-looking site Lucy. Hope it gets you lots of work.

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