Law firm Beachcroft is to offer in-house advocacy training to its litigation lawyers in a move designed to strengthen the firm's service offering for clients across the Midlands.
One of only a handful of UK firms to have obtained Law Society accreditation to provide the training in-house, Beachcroft expects to have the country's highest number of in-house advocates within two years.
Leading to the grant of the higher rights of audience qualification, the initiative will result in the development of a team of trial lawyers who operate in a similar way to those in the US - not only will they be involved in preparing litigation, but they will also be able to deal with trials before the court on the same basis as a barrister.
Regional senior partner, Martin Cannon, said: "This is very much an additional service that highlights our aim to constantly improve our offering to clients.
"It ensures we can offer the highest level of representation before the court from our own resources, although we can, of course, still use the Bar when appropriate.
"We believe clients will benefit from the focused approach which training and experience in advocacy brings, and that they will increasingly demand representation before the court from specialist law firms.
"We see the development of specialist trial lawyers as the best model to drive this initiative forward and are confident that our-in house training will provide real added value for our clients."
In the last year, the firm has been trialling a pilot scheme and, with this latest crop of 'graduates', now has 27 lawyers who have obtained higher rights of audience. Expectations are that this figure will more than double in the next 12 months and increase exponentially thereafter in response to client demand.
Beachcroft has more than 1,400 employees and operates from seven locations in the UK - two in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Winchester.
The Birmingham office currently includes 11 partners and 174 staff.