Hunt urges law firms to shape legal landscape

Lord Hunt of Wirral has called on law firms to respond to the draft Legal Services Bill or risk missing their chance to contribute to the future of the profession.

Speaking to The Lawyer, Hunt warned that time is running out for firms to offer their views before the end of the consultation period on Thursday (15 June).

“I want the legal profession to take advantage of the unrivalled opportunity they now have to put forward their views on how they see the profession developing,” Hunt said.

He went on to say that the first two weeks of consultation had yielded plenty of response from consumer groups and organisations such as the Law Society and Bar Council, but that law firm responses were still in single figures.

“We’re lacking innovative, imaginative solutions to the objectives which the government has set from those who know the interests of the profession best – the law firms,” Hunt added.

Hunt and the rest of the 12-strong committee of MPs and peers heard evidence last week from the Office of Fair Trading, the Law Society and the Bar Council. The two regulatory bodies stressed the importance of maintaining the good overseas reputation and independence of the English and Welsh legal system.

The committee is currently working to collect evidence and report back to the Government by the end of July. If all runs to schedule, the bill is likely to be introduced into Parliament in the autumn.