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.
This is a conference* about ‘trust in the market’ and building confidence within the sphere of legal services regulation. I shall therefore open with the observation (or reminder) that regulation is a public intervention in otherwise private transactions and free markets. It must therefore stem from a political judgement that we should not have complete trust and confidence, and must instead rely on the intervention in the market. issue of how confidence in regulation develops and is then sustained is a fascinating one. It begs preliminary questions of what we mean by ‘confidence’, and from whose standpoint we are assessing it.