The number firms at risk of collapsing as a result of market reforms such as the Carter Review and the Legal Services Act could be as high as 3,000.
That is one of the conclusions to be made tonight (Wednesday 21 March) in the inaugural lecture of Professor Stepen Mayson, director of the College of Law’s new Legal Services Policy Institute.
Mayson believes that a substantial number of smaller, primarily legal aid-funded firms, will disappear over the next few years as the reformss come into effect.
Such consolidation must be carefully managed, Mayson will argue, but it will be ultimately in the interests of a more cost-effective legal services market as new and more efficient providers emerge.
Mayson will also argue that among larger firms, “the strains of the partnership model” have begun to show.
“My diagnosis is that we have too many qualified lawyers, too many law firms and too many equity partners,” Mayson said. “but we’re in a market that is still growing in value.”
The Legal Services Policy Institute was established earlier this year to explore the policy issues raised by the reforms with interested parties.
Tonight’s lecture before an audience of managing partners, clients and regulatory bodies will be followed by a panel discussion featuring, among others, Law Society president Fiona Woolf, chairman of the bar Geoffrey Vos QC and National Grid group company secretary Helen Mahy.