Coverage Counsel: The American Barrister

By: Jonathan Broder, Esq. and CEO of MyMotionCalendar                               View as PDF                                                                               <<  Back to Articles  

The concept of splitting legal responsibilities between different types of attorneys is older than the American judicial system itself.

In Britain and many other common law countries, the legal profession is split between two classes of lawyers, barristers and solicitors. The barrister specializes in litigation and in-court representation, whereas a solicitor is hired by and interacts with the client. Solicitors never go to court on behalf of their client; rather they hire a barrister if they need in-court representation. Barristers are rarely, if ever, hired directly by a client.

Those who are offended by the concept of and/or use of coverage counsel focus on the perceived lack of skills, competence and preparedness of coverage counsel. Not enough thought is given to the quality, competence, accuracy and timeliness of the information provided by the hiring attorney to coverage counsel.

In common law countries, the use of barristers acts as a checks and balance on the solicitor; if a claim or defense has not been handled properly by the solicitor, the barrister has a duty to advise the client of a separate possible claim against the solicitor.

Can you imagine if coverage counsel had the ability (and duty) to report back to the client about the referring attorney’s work product! The quality of legal representation would improve dramatically.

The use of coverage counsel is not problematic in and of itself. It is how it is executed by those who hire coverage counsel and those who provider coverage services. Indeed, the concept of and use of coverage counsel has a long historical track record.


To learn about MyMotionCalendar’s safeguards to ensure that clients provide documents and instructions timely to coverage counsel contact Jonathan Broder at 305-200-8682 or review the features of our services here.


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