Direct Access Barristers

In 2019 there were over 6379 Direct Access Barristers, with 3678 in London alone.

That is 39% of all Barristers.

New prospective clients who are ready to ‘hire now’ are mostly in comparison mode.

What affects their Choice ?

The best decisions are informed decisions.

So what information is sought by prospects in choosing which barrister to commission ?

With regular barristers, solicitors have a strong influence over whom to choose, although a client can insist which barrister to use if they favour one. So if you take on both types of work this section is relevant in both ways.

We have spent many hours researching what variables are now used to affect a prospects’ choice of direct access barristers the most.

What this section does is provide evidence as to what measurably improves your selection rate when prospects compare what you have to offer against every other barrister in your field. And what you have to offer is your image aswell as experience, background and any specialities.

How Prospects think


The no.1influencer of how prospects select any professional service is video. (Done correctly).

90% of all Internet searches in 2020 are for videos.

Singular recommendations of professional services from friends or family may enter a list for pospects to check. However  because of what hundreds of independent reviews have to say on various review sites or followers reacting to how a barrister comes over on a video, friends and family recommendations are subordinate to the greater numbers of other reviewers. 

Videos are not only uploaded onto your website, but also to social media platforms. It is possible to have referrals from your website but these are not trusted as much as they could be, either induced to do so, or cherry picked.

It is so easy now for prospects to research alternatives via the net, disincentivising blind commissioning from one or two people’s recommendations. If you are established,  the way to accelerated growth is illustrated via the myriad of internet articles written by experts on the subject of professional videos. These articles are based on well researched statistics; not wishful thinking to promote video.

Only a fraction of the total number of barristers use video, even though all the evidence points towards it being the number one influencer (an obviously unknown fact). This presents an undeniable opportunity for those barristers who use one – produced correctly .  Ie: The strategic nature of the video in delivering the right message(s) to the right audience(s) must be correct. (Implementation, once this is determined is straightforward). If not the video has lost most of its value.


Clients are not the same in the way they make their choices. Some go by track record. Some match to needs, some by recommendation of the barrister’s clerk (they pick from a few as you know), some by the appeal of the website, some by high profile names, some by likeability and relevant aptitude(s).

One reason video is no.1 is because it is easy to watch on all devices and makes it much more potent in attracting attention and Interest by prospects than using text and photos. An important point when 50% of all websites are viewed on mobile phones, where text is small disincentivising to read at small sizes, and not as convenient as video. The average person processes images  60,000 times faster than words and get 90% of their information visually, so using video is key to getting your key points absorbed.

If still not convinced just how much of an opportunity this is, Google is your friend and it won’t take longer than 10 mins to see the evidence for whatever type of investigations in this area you wish to conduct.

Not only is video a major part of influencing content, especially on mobile, it also helps put you near the top of google without having to pay. This is because it is a top 10 Google ranking criterion. (Not many know this !)

As a barrister the facts will be of interest:

You can confirm this using many different sources by googling “benefit of video” or any other search term relating to it and see what the figures are and why.

Video is the future and the most important aspect of content communications. Some Direct Access Barristers have already seen this and had videos made.

Although this barrister specialises in an area likely not to be yours, he comes across as very experienced, knowledgeable, skilled, analytical and definitely worth shortlisting.

The point is it’s not necessarily how he performs in a case at this stage, but how he captivates prospects’ desire to know more about him.

Videos do not have to be more than 5 minutes, and the best seen has only been 2 minutes.  

In 5 mins you can convey one or more of:

What you do or specialist areas

Your research capabilities

Your Track Record

Your communication skills

Your personality strengths (such as confidence, advocacy, succinctness & more)

How knowledgable you are

Here’s what can be achieved in just 2 minutes by this Direct Access Barrister:

The camera work leaves much for improvement, however the scriptwriting is exemplary concentrating on those elements that his target prospective customers are going to be most interested in. Winning and customer service.

He warns his customers he is one of the most expensive barristers (so he doesn’t get timewasters or the wrong sort of clients) but in return they will get a winner and a case that is managed with top performers all round. His track record does reflect this. (Can you spot the almost impercetible caveat ?)

This is very appealing to many wealthy clients where money is no object and winning is paramount. If that is what you want, it can done via “branding”  techniques. We can discuss this with you if you wish, as it is an involved area containing certain processes to create building blocks. These can act as an accelerant to strong originating material, which otherwise might require more luck than design to get the “breaks” necessary to achieve the same ends.

The objective of the video is to get shortlisted and contacted. And to that end this video serves its purpose. Even with non direct access barristers (and many do both types of work) the video ensures any firm of solicitors is directed to select you instead of one of the panel of preferred barristers of the firm.

Why us ?

We will make the most of the opportunity for you by determining with you, and statistical data, what needs to be said, how, and in what time frame. The first step is an understanding of the mechanism in what you offer to prospects. The second is how we can best bring that to the attention of target prospects when they have most desire for those services.

The third is to get them to choose you. That takes expertise and is not just a matter of saying every positive thing one can say. That lacks focus and increases your competition with others that also take this approach. Nor is it helpful to mention things you consider relevant but are subordinate to target audience related priorities.

So many videos made are of professionals rambling on trying to cover as many points as they can think of. Now you know why that is incorrect.

As an advocate you know the importance of reading through a case carefully, research where necessary, understanding the merits and any issues likely to arise, and maximising what you have in court by using your skills of advocacy and cross examination.

As Marketing communication professionals we go through a similar process but in a different way. Research, understanding, selecting the most relevant merits for focus (target audience dependent) and deciding how to convey potent message(s) with video and implementing as a script.

Videos have to be scripted and planned properly (the same as any advertisement or speech is) or the result is impaired.  There are quite a few videos made by barristers in your field , but only 5% of those are professionally scripted and edited (and it shows !)

Finally the video has to be positioned in the most appropriate places on the internet. That means places prospects use to research barristers for shortlisting to do work for them. These can vary from use of search engines, review sites, recommendations or online articles (Media Planning). There is also “interruption advertising” which is more long term and used for brand building.

By using us we will ensure we make the most out of your video opportunity(s) in all respects.

DIY or not ?

Qualitywise some decent videos can be made with a tripod and a high end mobile phone or other camera, but it this is only recommended if budget is tightly restricted and the type of video allows it. We are dumbfounded by videos that have great content but let down by shoddy camera work.


For Direct Access Barristers an Explanatory, Interview or Case studies video is advised.

The Explanatory Video can be done yourself with the right script and editing (which we can do for you). If you have the budget to have it done professionally an Interview or Case Studies Video would be better for your image.

There are numerous videos by Direct Access Barristers where the quality is obviously DIY. 80% of prospects make associations between the quality of a video and the attributes of the  barrister in the same way that a barrister coming to a business meeting wearing cheap casual clothing would not help his image.

An interview video is always advised with a professional setup. If you ever watched the 5 minute interview of Jonathan Sumption QC you will see the difference between that and the many monologue videos produced nowadays by many barristers.

Look at the comments underneath the video and see what effects it had on those watching it.

The quality of the film used is dreadful, but compared to the content, it is almost irrelevant (but wouldn’t be nowadays). The Interview gave the impression he was a very resourceful, knowledgable and clever man (who later became a senior judge). A preprepared Q and A session  worked well here, which could easily have been rescripted into a video outlining his specific talents in any particular field of work(s).

Roman Abramovitch hired him as a QC for 2 cases after this.

(Jonathan Sumption was well known as a top class barrister at that point, but this video reinforced that).

In the event of professionally shot video, a video crew implement instructions. They do not scriptwrite, nor do they conceive what type of video is to be shot and what must be achieved. (Interview, conceptual, motivational, explanatory or any other type). They follow what they are told, in the same way that Builders follow the directions of the Architect.

Our role is to ensure the right message(s) is/are delivered in the right way and following that, is used to best effect in the right media. We also provide a professional turn-key project as well as filling in the missing pieces for anything DIY should you require that option.

The fees for the process vary depending on what is involved but are easily recouped with the first extra one or two clients obtained from this. Everything after that is growth.

There is clearly an opportunity here for D.A Barristers.

Attack on all Fronts ?

Absolutely not. Resource hungry and subordinate to specialists in the field. But many do it.

It is a mistake to think that covering all areas likely to be of interest is effective. The idea that a client can pick and choose what is relevant to him from that, is an easy mistake to make. That approach is widely popular, but known to be weak amongst strategists because:

1) Everyone else says the same, particularly amongst advocates. The winners are the ones that do not come over as homogeneous in what they offer, but communicate their relevant strengths succinctly and persuasively. What matters just as much is their persona. From that a client can determine whether they can get on with you and how much faith they can place in your abilities.

There are some excellent videos of lawyers exuding confidence in their ability to deliver results, and this is important.

2) Trying to cover too many areas comes across as a diluted offering in any one area (whether true or not) – many advocates are tremendous in many areas. It’s not the facts that are of issue, but how they are perceived and the prejudices clients can often have. Something you will already be aware of.

Like all professions where getting the most out of a scenario for a particular budget, “Research is King”. In this case finding out how to best get prospects get in touch.

Xanalysis specialises in providing proven strategic positioning (ie: identifying where the opportunities are to match a professional’s background), especially Direct Access Barristers by :

1) Obtaining higher value clients.

This is by knowing how clients search, what aspects particularly appeal to them (not as obvious as you may think) and executing accordingly. A higher value new client is not just one who provides the appropriate resources for a case, but one who listens, heeds your advice, and makes it straightforward to deal with. They are ones who value your expertise and pay for it accordingly.

2) Help build or reinforce your image.

It is said most medium performing solicitors earn more than a medium performing barrister, but top barristers earn more than top solicitors. And top does not mean top at what they do, but “top” in terms of clientele and fees earnt. That requires a boost to image.

How we help D.A Barristers

1) Video

As explained at the start Video is more effective than anything to get you to stage 1 and propel you to one of the top places in google without paying for adwords.

2) Ebrochures

A specially designed ebrochure (digital or printed) to serve as highlights and reminders go with your proposal or letter of care. (See These serve as highlights and reminders of what is to be expected, but can also be used to send to prospects after an initial discussion.

Do not let your initial free 30 minute discussion of their case go to waste as other barristers are interviewed on the same points, as prospects get 2nd or 3rd opinions.

Most discussions only have a 10% retention rate the following day, so make sure yours is recalled.

3) Promotion to Influencers

49% of consumers claim that they depend on influencer recommendations on social media to inform them for hiring decisions (Ref: Four communications, 2018). It will be more now.

This social media statistic makes it evident why brands piggyback on the power of influencers to reach out to their customers. The same is with service providers. This may not seem logical but those are the facts. Swim with the tide or against it. The choice is yours.

4) Targetted PR Exposure

An example would be The Times or Sunday Times/Telegraph online. (Many other suitable media exist).

High profile media read by a large section of your Target audience(s) with high credibility.

Were an article written about one or two of your won cases be reviewed in the Sunday Times by their legal correspondent, the power of this influencer would elevate your image significantly.

What xanalysis offers is a similar level of expertise at much more affordable rates for professionals in your position seeking higher value clients who value you more.

This is where we can help you.

There are other sections on this web site explaining how clients for differing  professions decide how to choose which firm or individual to use.

1) Personal Recommendations (Important but a fraction as important as it once was).

If you’re not a brand name, 75% of new clients do online research to shortlist whom to use in 2020). Influencer recommendations incorporate personal recommendations and others such as PR.

2) The Image or Brand of the practice. Being a “branded” Barrister, whether Direct Access or not, carries the most weight and shortcuts both stages.

3) Their Web site – In particular the main message and how it is delivered

4) Their Track Record in the select area – best communicated via video as conglomerated.

5) How skilled they are at providing negotiating advice (or directly negotiating with another advocate where applicable).

6) How likeable they are (very important).

Although similar to the criteria used for selecting which solicitor’s firm to use this will determine all communications, in particular your web site, what is said on it and how, any online promotion such as google adwords, and any social media platforms you choose to be in.

What professional marketing people do is always target low hanging fruit first. People they know have most to gain by what they are offering and thus will be most interested in it.

In this respect by understanding the mentality of potential clients and how they make their hiring decisions enables us to help you get more valuable new clients far easier and more quickly than you could do either yourself or by using low level “unqualified” developers or design agencies.

A lot has changed in way potential clients now select Barristers directly. (Eg: The shift in the type of places they go for recommendations, the effect video now has on shortlisting and enquiries, the effects of social media etc).

Real Marketing is about knowing what to do, how and where. Not random, unplanned unmeasured and unprofessional promotions. You need an agency that knows how prospect clients’ minds work to make the most of the opportunities in the areas we have outlined.

Return on Investment is key and we are always mindful of this.

Contact us for an assessment as to how we can help you most with corresponding (very reasonable) fees. This could be to discuss video, its placements, an assessment as to how your website can be improved or how to best direct prospects to your web site (media planning and PR).

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