The Law Society of England & Wales recently published its Annual Statistics Report for 2021, its compendium and analysis of useful numbers about the trends in the solicitors profession. (In fact, it is the second report published this year, the 2020 report having been delayed by the Covid pandemic.)
I have followed these reports for many years, charting the ups and downs in the trends. I was therefore brought up short by this comment by the President of the Law Society, as reported in Legal Futures: “The decline in the number of firms also highlights the need for widespread investment in our justice system including legal aid rates to ensure lawyers are there when needed.”
The reason that I. Stephanie Boyce’s comment grabbed my attention is that the two elements of the sentence (decline and need for public investment) do not on the face of it appear to be supported by the data or even connected. Some further digging into the report and other sources was called for. Continue reading
This is the question that I was recently given five minutes to answer! This post is intended as a more expanded response. It begs some prior questions about what we mean by ‘BigLaw’, ‘business model’ and ‘the BigLaw business model’. But [spoiler alert] the short and long answers are the same: it doesn’t look like it.
Last month, Boston Consulting Group published a report that claimed to assess the effects of deregulating legal services in England & Wales, as driven by the Legal Services Act 2007. The analysis and conclusions are, to put it at its best, disappointing. I am grateful to have been spared the need to offer a detailed review, thanks to this informed critique of the report by Alison Hook.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that the report’s authors based some of their work on my independent review (Legal Services Reform: Regulation Beyond the Echo Chambers, published last year). However, having done so, their report could encourage others to take my principal conclusion – that further reform is needed – and, contrary to my intention, use it to amplify the echo within the chambers of my title.