I FEEL I must write on the subject of franchising.
Having been subjected to fellow practitioners' evangelical ramblings on the equally abhorrent subject of BS5750, I must call for my colleagues to open their eyes to the spurious debate on 'quality'.
My partner and I have practised for some 25 years from a small office in the Home Counties. We have what would no doubt be seen as an old fashioned firm. While we have succumbed to the secretarial use of a word processor we see no need for 'practice management systems' and what-not for what is primarily general high street legal aid work.
We have managed to maintain a high standard of work for the last two decades. We know our clients and we provide an all-round service from conveyancing through to crime.
And what is our reward for this? Unless we spend money which we do not have on a system we do not need and undergo other changes in established working practices, the Legal Aid Board and the Law Society tell us we will be excluded from the process of civil legal aid.
The real issue is that firms are trying to make up for the long-term effects of their gradual distancing from the community (see the trend towards specialisation). They think that by introducing these sort of regulations they are ensuring good practice.
I say this to the Law Society and the Legal Aid Board: get off the practitioner's back.
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