Dabbs: hopes to provide low-cost service

Two barristers have launched a Bar Standards Board-regulated entity offering commercial advice as an alternative to traditional chambers, hoping to pass on the savings from low overheads to clients.

Lorna Hackett, who was called to the bar in 2003, and David Dabbs, called in 1984, have formed Waterlooville, Hampshire-based Hackett & Dabbs.

Ms Hackett, who is currently on maternity leave, is dual qualified but has never practised as a solicitor. She has worked primarily in solicitors’ firms as a consultant and qualified as a solicitor in 2008 at the behest of a prospective employer, but did not go on to take the job.

Meanwhile, Mr Dabbs – who has started accepting instructions under the banner of the new entity – is listed as a property specialist at 42 Bedford Row, where he has practised since 2001.

The new firm aims to offer specialist corporate and commercial advice to clients along the M27 corridor.

Speaking to Legal Futures, Ms Hackett said the two had “bonded over a mutual love of house music” and went on to start Hackett & Dabbs “as an alternative to a traditional chambers.”

She added: “Having spent the last year and a half consulting at a firm in Fareham, we were able to see multiple opportunities for our services and have had expressions of interest from some very successful local companies.”

Although technically they could “accept instructions as solicitor and barrister”, she said, by taking the direct access route and not handling client money, “our insurance is significantly cheaper [and] we are able to pass on those savings to our clients”.

Ms Hackett continued: “Many of our prospective clients end up needing the skills of an experienced barrister in any event, so Hackett & Dabbs offers a ‘fast-track’ route without much of the additional cost.

“We have deliberately kept our overheads very low… Our current plans are to stay small, but in the medium to long term to consider taking on other members of the bar who are specialists in other areas of the law.”

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