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A Law Society survey which found that 71 per cent of sole practitioners see themselves as specialists has prompted president Tony Girling to call on them to follow the lead set by barristers and band together in chambers-type arrangements.
In an interview in this week's edition of The Lawyer (see page 11) Girling argues that sole practitioners should work together in a single building, sharing overheads but not forming a partnership.
"You'll have a building where you have three sole practitioners, one of whom does nothing but property, one who does nothing but employment and one who does nothing but civil litigation," said Girling.
"I think the future of very small practices lies in concentrating on your strengths and cross-referrals on that sort of co-operative basis."
John Lymbury, chair of the Sole Practioners Group, said it had already produced a suggested heads of agreement form for solicitors' chambers, around 35 of which have so far been requested from the Law Society.
The Law Society survey of solicitors, that has yet to be published, also found 51 per cent of the profession wanted their professional body to actively pursue the idea of multi-disciplinary partnerships (MDPs).
Girling said the Law Society must look to overcome the problems of legal privilege, conflict of interest and the question of just who will control an MDP.