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What is a bespoke law firm?


CritelliLaw is a bespoke law firm. Not familiar with the term, then you’re probably from America. Bespoke is British term used to define custom-made. Lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic have been operating in the bespoke mode for centuries.

Bespoke law teams in England and Wales

In the United Kingdom almost all complex cases are handled by a bespoke team.  The client’s solicitor will often chose a Queen’s Counsel and a junior barrister and together they constitute the clients trial team. Each unit of the team brings special knowledge and skill and all work together under the guidance of the solicitor to deliver efficient and cost contained legal service.

Bespoke law teams in America

Bespoke law firms are not limited to England and Wales, they are also common in America. In 1981 famed American lawyer  F. Lee Bailey wrote a murder mystery, Secrets, featuring an American bespoke trial team lead by a British Barrister, (because of their superior advocacy skills) and an American medical malpractice lawyer (because of their skills in handling complex litigation.)

A decade and a half later fiction would turn to fact in the OJ Simpson trial. Simpson was successfully defended by a bespoke trial team consisting of F. Lee Bailey, Robert Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Kardashian, Gerald Uelmen (a law professor at Santa Clara University), Carl E. Douglas, Johnnie Cochran Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld. However the prosecution as well as the defense of the subsequent civil litigation were conducted in the tradition manner.

Bespoke law teams are not limited to high profile murder cases. In the  early 1970s one of Iowa’s most celebrated civil anti-trust lawsuits was prosecuted by a bespoke law team lead by the late John Greer of Spencer and composed of Lex Hawkins who was traditionally a plaintiffs lawyer and Ross Sidney usually  for the defense. The case made legal history not only because of the  size of the verdict but also as to  the fact that extremely independent and talented lawyers from diverse backgrounds could successfully join together for a specific case.

A Bespoke Law Team for your client’s case.

Bespoke law teams  are not for routine cases.  They are best handled by the traditional law firm. However when the matter becomes complex your client’s interests are best represented by a bespoke trial team. As barristers we are trained in the bespoke environment. Our experience teaches  that integration, communication and administration are required to bring out the best in each element of the team.

You are the Leader of the Team.

As your client’s lawyer or in-house counsel you hold a special relationship which requires that you ultimately command the team. Our role as barrister or team leader is to work with you to ensure that the bespoke team provides you with objective legal advice, strategic planning and high quality specialty performance within the cost containment parameters set by your client.

Bespoke Law Teams in Non-litigation matters.

Bespoke law teams are not limited to litigation matters. In fact they are most often found in complex transactional matters. Transactional practitioners recognize that complex matters often require specialty services that no one law firm can provide.  They must draw upon the services of specialist counsel from a variety of sources.    Unfortunately  tow elements are often missing:  a trained team leader and team diversification. When leadership is missing  matters have a tendency to “drop through the specialty cracks.” When diversification is missing disaster can occur.  Unfortunately the “specialty crack” that is most often overlooked is the courtroom. Transactions which meet the standard of care from the transactional viewpoint can fail miserably when put to the test in front of a jury. As one client recently summarized, “it [the contract] satisfied the bankers but got us killed by the jury.” Simply put, the transaction must be courtroom safe.

Cost Containment and Performance Standards

As the client’s main representative you perform the crucial role of the quality assurance/cost containment monitor.  You stand as a bulwark against wasted costs and dilatory or substandard performance.  Because bespoke lat teams are single purpose oriented and devoid of traditional law firm politics and overhead they  tend to be conscious of cost containment and performance standards. The team’s situational awareness is assured through your monitoring.

Examples of Bespoke Representation.

Over the past few years we have become involved in many bespoke matters involving transaction as well as litigation cases.   Our bespoke transactional experience includes:   insurance company demutalization, intellectual property, energy law involving electrical compressed air energy storage,  and merger and acquisitions.  Our litigation experience involves banking matters, breaches of fiduciary duty, corporate or business disputes, defamation, international commercial litigation, hedge to arrive contracts, stock frauds, professional negligence, employment agreements, civil rights, anti-trust, trademark and copyright, real estate transactions, insurance claims, ERISA, product liability and professional license matters.

Members of the team.

As barristers our training and experience  is focused upon litigation, rules of procedure, the law of evidence and forensic advocacy.  Substantive areas of the law require years of study.  Consequently we often draw upon the the experience of law professors who are acknowledged experts in their field.  In other situations we join forces with experienced lawyers who are acknowledged specialists in the subject area.

Due Diligence.

Because all members of the bespoke team are acknowledged experts the bespoke team easily complies with  corporate due diligence standards for the selection of law firms.

For more information regarding the bespoke team concept contact CritelliLaw.