One-stop practice is the shape of things to come

Finers partner Michael Simmons has predicted that a growing number of firms will establish themselves in multi-disciplinary practices as clients increasingly opt for one-stop-shopping for legal services.

But he said specialist lawyers could continue to win work by building boutique practices and appealing to the buyers' right to choose.

Speaking at the recent Paris meeting of the International Bar Association, Simmons warned that accountancy-led MDPs were “nudging at us” and attitudes among the profession needed to change.

He said the consumer push towards easy access would see the advent of umbrella centres incorporating a wide range of professions under one roof, and that “the high ground we occupy is going to disappear”.

He said although the number of MDPs would increase, work would still be referred to individual lawyers instead of MDPs and practitioners with a strong client base could work in niche firms. He predicted lawyers would cut referrals to other departments within MDPs while their legal teams competed for work with the profession.