Legal Economy is an online marketplace for solicitors to engage barristers. Legal Economy is Australian owned and based in Melbourne, Australia.
Legal Economy provides an efficient new way for solicitors to engage barristers. We envisage that Legal Economy will deliver benefits to individual clients, solicitors and barristers. More broadly, we hope Legal Economy will improve access to justice and see more barristers in Court more often.
The process is simple:
first, solicitors invite tenders for work. The solicitor might require a barrister to advise or to appear in Court;
barristers tender for work for which they consider they have the necessary experience, skills and availability; and
solicitors choose from the barristers who have submitted tenders, based on price and experience.
Using Legal Economy is consistent with solicitors’ professional legal obligations, as efficient use of professional time in engaging a barrister and barristers offering competitive pricing may reduce costs for the client.
Legal Economy is free for solicitors and barristers – solicitors only pay the fees that they have agreed to pay barristers.
We think your clients will be thrilled that you’re looking for new ways to increase efficiency and reduce their costs. We’ve prepared a short paragraph that solicitors may wish to include in their communications with their clients (including their own responses to client tenders), which may assist with the discussion:
“As part of our legal services, we may need to engage a barrister or barristers on your behalf to appear in court or to provide a legal opinion. In identifying an appropriate barrister or barristers for the work, we will consider factors including, but not limited to, the nature of the legal work, your budget, geographical location and the barrister’s reputation, expertise, seniority and availability. To assist us in this process, we may use the tender platform operated by Legal Economy Pty Ltd (Legal Economy). Legal Economy is an Australian company which facilitates web-based Requests for Tender from solicitors to barristers. For more information, please visit https://legaleconomy.com.au.”
Legal Economy is for solicitors and barristers.
Solicitors may sign up to and use Legal Economy if they are Australian Legal Practitioners*. Solicitors may use Legal Economy to post work but are not permitted to tender for work.
Barristers may sign up to and use Legal Economy if they are Australian Legal Practitioners* authorised to engage in legal practice as or in the manner of a barrister, pursuant to their governing legal profession laws.
Legal Economy is available to barristers and solicitors Australia-wide.
In signing up, each solicitor and barrister is obliged to agree to the Website Terms. Please refer to FAQ 5 to see what checks Legal Economy undertakes to confirm that a person who signs up as a barrister is an Australian Legal Practitioner*.
*In these FAQs, Australian Legal Practitioner means an Australian lawyer (or in South Australia, a legal practitioner) who holds a current Australian practising certificate within the meaning of their governing legal profession laws.
Legal Economy will check whether barristers are registered Australian Legal Practitioners against lists maintained by the barristers’ relevant State or Territory regulatory authority and/or bar association. Legal Economy also requests that barristers provide a copy of their practising certificate and if one is not provided, Legal Economy will contact the barrister on their publically available phone number to check that they have made the application for an account. Accreditation to use Legal Economy expires at the end of each practising certificate year, and so barristers are required to either provide a copy of their new practising certificate at the time of issue, or warrant and represent that they have received a renewed practicing certificate. Should Legal Economy identify any inadequacies or anomalies in any of its checking procedures of uploaded certificates, such as expired or poor quality copies of practicing certificates, the barrister will be advised and their profile will not be approved for use until the barrister can remedy any identified deficiency to Legal Economy’s satisfaction.
Solicitors are permitted to sign-up without providing their practising certificate or follow-up contact from Legal Economy, as solicitor profiles have restricted access to Legal Economy and do not carry the same identity and confidentiality risks as barrister profiles. Where solicitors do upload their practising certificates, and they are identified as being a solicitor using one of the lists referred to on this website: https://www.lawsociety.com.au/ForSolictors/practisinglawinnsw/Australianlegalpractitioners/index.htm, then Legal Economy will identify them to barristers as such.
Access to the Legal Economy website is generally restricted to computers located within Australia. This measure seeks to protect the integrity of the system. It also means that you won’t be able to log in to the Legal Economy website whilst overseas without using a Virtual Private Network or VPN.
Creating a great experience for all Legal Economy users means that we need to make sure we have sufficient barristers using Legal Economy for the volume of work that solicitors are posting.
We are now asking solicitors to sign up, however, solicitors will only be able to complete the registration process and start using Legal Economy once they receive a further invitation.
Barristers? You can sign up to Legal Economy now, and you can start using Legal Economy as soon as we have checked your practising status and activated your account.
Only solicitors can post work on Legal Economy. Only barristers with accounts approved by Legal Economy can submit tenders through Legal Economy.
Solicitors may use junior or support staff to assist them in their use of Legal Economy, including to post work and respond to questions, however solicitors should be cautious about with whom they share their log in and password details and should keep records of who has access to their Legal Economy account.
In posting work, solicitors provide the following information:
Names of the parties (if you choose to use placeholder names such as “Jane Doe” or “XYZ”, barristers will not be able to assess if they have a conflict or potential conflict);
Information about the work to be performed including when and where it is to be performed, the area of work etc;
Any amendments to the Standard Tender Terms which they require; and
Any key documents which they consider the barristers should see in submitting a tender.
It is always up to the solicitors to decide how much information to disclose. However, it may affect whether any barrister is willing to tender for the work or how competitive their pricing is.
A solicitor can withdraw work that has been posted. Solicitors should note however that if a brief is cancelled after they have awarded it to a barrister, the barrister may have conducted preparatory work which they may be entitled to charge for, subject to the tender terms and conditions agreed between the parties.
Amendments to posted work are not permitted. If a solicitor needs to make amendments to their post, they will need to withdraw and re-submit. This is to prevent disputes around process i.e. the scope of work being amended after barristers have submitted a tender, or where barristers have missed a late amendment and submit their tender, having previously reviewed the relevant material.
Solicitors can invite particular barristers to submit tender responses, and can restrict viewing of their posted work to only those barristers.
The barrister will receive an email notification in relation to the solicitor’s invitation, with a link to the work posted on Legal Economy. If the barrister does not yet have a Legal Economy account, they will receive an email from Legal Economy via the email address that the solicitor has provided, inviting them to sign up and tender for the work.
Solicitors and barristers can communicate with each other through Legal Economy. Barristers can ask questions for the solicitor to answer about the work.
Solicitors and barristers can also communicate with each other outside of Legal Economy, if they choose.
Barristers can see all open tender work under the Browse for Work tab on their homepage. If they have been requested by a solicitor to consider particular work, barristers will receive an email from Legal Economy via the email address that the solicitor has provided. If the barrister does not yet have a Legal Economy account, the email will invite them to sign up and tender for the work.
Barristers may submit tenders in respect of work which they have the required skills, experience, time and interest to complete. In tendering, barristers may also request amendments to the Standard Tender Terms or alternative terms required by the solicitor.
A barrister can amend or withdraw a submitted tender any time up until their tender is accepted by the solicitor. For example, in response to seeing the price of another barrister’s tender, a barrister might decide to amend their price to win the work. The solicitor’s page for the particular work will update to reflect any amendments or withdrawals made by barristers to their tender.
Upon acceptance of the offer made by a barrister (Accepted Tender), a contract between the solicitor and barrister is formed. Accordingly, any amendments after the tender is accepted must be agreed between the parties.
The Barrister will be permitted not to perform the work associated with the Accepted Tender and in the limited circumstances set out in the Standard Tender Terms where:
The Barrister is not permitted to perform the Accepted Tender by operation of the Legal Profession Uniform Conduct (Barristers) Rules 2015; or
is permitted not to perform the Accepted Tender by operation of the Legal Profession Uniform Conduct (Barristers) Rules 2015; and
did not know, and it was not reasonable for the Barrister to know, at the time of submitting the Tender which forms part of the terms of the Accepted Tender to know of the circumstances which would permit them not to perform the Accepted Tender.
The Standard Tender Terms are intended to create a simple regime for a solicitor to engage a barrister through the tender process offered by Legal Economy. The Standard Tender Terms:
● comply with the requirements of the Uniform Law;
● establish the relationship between the parties to an Accepted Tender;
● establish how the parties to an Accepted Tender manage the progress of the matter; and
● provide for payment to a barrister for work performed in respect of an Accepted Tender.
Solicitors can propose amendments to the Standard Tender Terms at the time of posting the Work.
Barristers can request amendments to the Standard Tender Terms at the time of submitting their Tender.
Amendments to the Standard Tender Terms may include agreements between the solicitor and the barrister not to use the Standard Tender Terms, and use other terms instead. This is entirely up to the parties to agree.
A solicitor is free to accept any or none of the tenders submitted by barristers using Legal Economy.
In identifying an appropriate barrister for the work, a solicitor will normally consider factors including, but not limited to, the nature of the legal work, their client’s budget, geographical location and the barrister’s reputation, expertise, seniority and availability.
If you have posted a job and have not received any tenders from barristers, you may like to consider the following questions:
Have you (or has your client) set a realistic budget?
Have you described the work in sufficient detail for a barrister to submit their tender with confidence?
Have you narrowed the pool of barristers you are willing to consider too tightly (i.e. years of experience, area of law)?
Answers to these questions may help you determine whether you need to revise the job specifications.
No. Legal Economy assumes no liability in relation to work performed by barristers and therefore does not provide insurance for their work. Barristers must carry their own Professional Indemnity insurance. Solicitors can request that barristers provide a copy of their certificate of currency for professional indemnity insurance, as part of their tender response.
Solicitors must pay a barrister for their work in accordance with the terms of payment agreed between the parties. If the parties have used the Standard Tender Terms, a barrister has a right to recover legal costs from the solicitor once the barrister has completed their performance of the work and has given a tax invoice for those legal costs to the solicitor.
It’s free for solicitors to use – solicitors only pay the fees that they have agreed to pay barristers.
Legal Economy is also free for barristers to use.
No. Only barristers with active Legal Economy accounts can see jobs posted by solicitors. Solicitors can further restrict viewing of their work to only those barristers in possession of the unique link for the work. This unique link is sent to barristers who the solicitor invites to tender for the work.
As part of the Terms and Conditions of Use of the Legal Economy website, barristers must treat all information concerning any Work listed on the Website (including Client Information) as provided in confidence for the sole purpose of permitting barristers to tender for work.
Further, under the Legal Profession Uniform Conduct (Barristers) Rules 2015, barristers must not (except as compelled by law) disclose information obtained in the course of practice concerning any person to whom the barrister owes some duty or obligation to keep the information confidential
As part of the Terms and Conditions of Use of the Legal Economy website, barristers agree not to view or download information concerning any Work in respect of which they have a conflict of interest, potential conflict of interest, duty or any other obligation at law which would properly prevent them from viewing or downloading that information.
If a barrister discovers that they have a conflict of interests after they have looked at the details of a job, they must deal with the conflict according to law and notify the solicitor who posted the job and/or Legal Economy.
The Legal Economy website is hosted on a server located in Sydney, with encrypted back-up stored on Australian servers operated by recognised service providers. All communication with the site is encrypted using 128-bit SSL. No software needs to be installed on users’ computers. Internal access to non-public pages is controlled.
The data security information provided here is purposely brief. If you have any concerns, or would like more information as a user of the website, please contact us.
The same security measures we have in place to protect your client’s data will apply to protect your data.
Whilst Legal Economy has data protection mechanisms in place, you must be careful to ensure that you maintain confidentiality of your log-in details and passwords for your Legal Economy account. If you must give your log-in details to one of your trusted staff members, we suggest that you keep a record of who was provided with log in details, when and for what purpose.
If after reading these FAQs and associated guidance documents you are still not confident to use Legal Economy, please contact us and we would be happy to step you though the process.
You can use our online feedback form here.
If you have a complaint about a barrister or solicitor, you can use our online feedback form here. If the complaint is serious in nature, such as an allegation of professional misconduct, your complaint may be better directed to the relevant State or Territory regulatory authority.