Victorian Bar Association president James Peters QC suggested the initiative would promote efficient case management and cost-effective engagement with expertise.
“The model offers significant advantages to the client and this specific pilot is a unique solution that addresses traditional concerns faced by many in-house legal teams in accessing specialist advice from the bar,” he said.
The program with IAG will run over a half-year trial period and could serve as a model for future partnerships if successful.
“Over the next six months, our intention is to test the proposed model with suitable legal work and look to demonstrate value of a direct partnership arrangement where it makes sense to do so,” Mr Peters said.
IAG senior manager – legal, compliance and capability Dion Gooderham said the program would enhance the “quality and efficiency” of legal services.
“While IAG receives excellent legal support from all of its partner law firms, we believe that the bar is an untapped resource for in-house counsel to access high-quality legal services in appropriate cases,” he said.
“This pilot is all about testing and learning how to make direct briefing seamless and effective, which will ultimately benefit our customers and partners.”
According to a statement from the Victorian Bar, the program is an extension of the existing practice of in-house lawyers briefing barristers without a solicitor’s involvement.
However, the association suggested not all cases were suited to direct briefing and barristers would recommend a solicitor be instructed where appropriated.