Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Big bang for legal services?

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Unlike the stock market changes some years back, when a revolution in trading practice took place overnight, the potential revolution in the delivery of legal services is taking place at a considerably more gentle pace. But an important step forward was taken on 3 Jan 2012, when the Solicitors Regulation Authority acquired the right to licence new forms of legal practice, envisaged by the Legal Services Act 2007 and the Clementi Report that preceded it.

Press stories have indicated, for example, that there is at least one firm of solicitors contemplating a share flotation to raise the capital it regards as necessary to expand its businesses. The co-op is widely reported to be wanting to add the provision of legal services to its portfolio of service activity (such as banking and funeral directors).

Well the ground is now clear for these necessary permissions to be sought. My expectation is that overall progress will be slow to start with, but that as lawyers begin to see the opportunities offered by new business models, there will be a gradual transformation in the legal services market.

The Ministerial claim that consumers will benefit from a more competitive legal services market will not be realised overnight; but I am sure that in 5 years time, there will be considerable change. Watch this space.

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Written by lwtmp

January 9, 2012 at 11:20 am

Posted in Chapter 9

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