The Bar Council retains WS as legal reforms loom

The Bar Council and Bar Standards Board (BSB) have handed Weber Shandwick a three-year brief as they prepare for the implementation of the Legal Services Bill.

WS will advise on the radical overhaul of services expected as a result of the bill.

While WS has held a similar account for ten years, this is a wider brief encompassing PR and PA for the recently formed BSB and the industry’s wider efforts to regulate itself, said WS UK public affairs chairman Jon McLeod. The appointment comes after a review (PRWeek, 22 June 2006).

‘Acting as press and public affairs counsel to a profession of advocates is a demanding brief. Added to that is the challenge of communicating the independent regulatory role of the BSB in the wake of its recent launch,’ said McLeod.

The brief also includes promoting the council’s work on analysing barriers to entering the profession for people from diverse backgrounds.

Bar Council director of representation and policy Mark Hatcher said: ‘At this time of significant public policy and regulatory change in the legal services market there is much work to do in developing the Bar’s profile and influence.’

The BSB was created in anticipation of recommendations in the Legal Services Bill and to help ensure the profession’s independence from government.

The bill is designed to create new business structures to allow different types of lawyers (solicitors and barristers) and non-lawyers to work on an equal footing.

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