find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Barristers face pay lag as financials crumble

Barristers face pay lag as financials crumble

Barristers are voicing concerns about pay as law firms and their clients lag on bill payments.

Barristers are voicing concerns about pay as law firms and their clients lag on bill payments. 

The global financial crisis is being blamed by barristers who are not receiving payment as quickly as they used to. “In the last six to eight months, when the GFC suddenly became a massive talking point, there came an increase in the lag time for counsel to get paid,” Brisbane barrister David Topp told The New Lawyer. 

“Generally speaking there are some standard clients who are dragging the chain close to 12 months now,” he said. 

While he admits he hasn’t done “any rigorous polling”, anecdotally counsel are not getting paid as quickly as they were before the crisis, he said. 

But vice president of the Australian Bar Association, Peter Riordan S.C., argued barristers have traditionally been paid late. “It’s one of the challenges of coming to the Bar. Effectively you don’t expect to be paid much of anything within the next 12 months.”

Riordan said that because the mainstay of the Bar has traditionally been personal injuries work, which was typically not paid until the case finished, barristers have always had to be patient about receiving their fees. 

“So you would go along the entirety of the case as a barrister and not be paid for the work you did along the way. At the end of he case, presuming it was successful, you would be paid. That was the way it was conducted,” Riordan said. 

While personal injuries are no longer the life blood of the bar, and a much greater percentage of the Bar is not commercial-related, the payment system has not radically changed. 

“They tend to expect to be paid as they go. I would have thought for the majority of barristers, their average fee would be paid about six months after they bill it.”

Riordan admits, however, “the global financial crisis won’t help it”.  

Many of the large commercial firms are more inclined to pay and get money to their barristers quickly. They have systems in place that pull money from clients relatively quickly. Smaller firms are typically less forthcoming. Both Riordan and Topp note, however, it is not the firms that are not paying up, but the clients they are representing.  

“It’s one of the realities of being a barrister. Most accept they will not be paid promptly, whether or not it’s a global financial crisis,” Riordan said. 



Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Barristers face pay lag as financials crumble
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 24 2017
Demand lifts in 2017/18 for short-term finance to cover crises
Promoted by NWC Finance. The first five months of the 2017-18 financial year have seen unpreceden...
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
Nov 24 2017
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
The Law Council of Australia says the establishment of a panel which will examine the human right to...
Law Society launched a new website, legal politics and lawmaking
Nov 24 2017
Law Society launches project to engage young Aussies
The Law Society of NSW has launched a new website to engage young Australians in legal politics and ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...