Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption has urged lawyers to avoid the ‘self-contained view’ created by specialising in one area – citing the family bar as especially insular.
Looking into the ‘garden next door’, Sumption (pictured) said, would help advocates present a more rounded and relevant case in court.
‘In the Supreme Court this is particularly problematic,’ he told a conference of the Royal College of Surgeons today. ‘We deal mainly with cases where the existing authorities are inconclusive, unsatisfactory, out of date or non-existent.’
Sumption said he was sceptical about specialisation as he did not regard law as comprising distinct bundles of rules covering each area of human affairs.
More fundamentally, the practice of law should involve applying a range of common techniques and instincts to a variety of legal problems.
As this Law Gazette article highlights, those lawyers who are best placed to advise their commercial clients are those who have a wide understanding and experience in commercial matters including property, employment, litigation and acquisitions so as to provide their advice in the context of the clients’ business as whole. Advice should always be provided in a commercial context and should not be in the context of just one discipline as there is always an overlap between various legal disciplines. As a firm this is something we try and encourage with our people.