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Me PLC? Strategies for the legal professions after the Legal Services Act. Jane Jarman Nottingham Law School jane. [email protected] ac. uk NTU Alumni Conference 29 th October 2010
“War of the Worlds…” (Global) market pressure Law firm structure/LLPs/retention and succession issues/PI cover/risk management focus l The new standardisation of legal work/process (Susskind’s new definition) l l Increased competition l l l Compare medical profession a decade ago New business sectors Other legal professionals (HRA/Bar Direct) Recent changes l l Election Still 6 October 2011?
Function of the Legal Profession(s) What do lawyers do? l Status of the legal profession(s) l The profession has always adapted l l Advertising/Firm structure/Etiquette Legal Advice ≠ lawyer (always) and has not done so for a while l End of restrictive practice: a trend rather than a “big bang” effect? l Speed of change – 2010/2011…it is happening now…. l
Lawyers: traditional definitions l l l Solicitors Barristers Institute of Legal Executives Institute of Paralegals Association of Law Costs Draftsmen Licensed Conveyancers Trade Mark Attorneys and Patent Attorneys In house lawyers Citizens Advice Bureaux Law Centres Regulatory professionals…others… New names? Costs Lawyers “lawyer” as a generic term l Institute of Legal Finance and Management l ILEX Advocate l l l
Basic Elements of Professionalism l Specific indicators of professionalism l l l l Specialised skills base Culture of self regulation/autonomy Professional examinations Adherence to a Code of Conduct Exclusion of those who do not meet standards Expulsion of those who have committed unprofessional conduct New professions adopt the indicators
Aims of the new regulatory framework l l l l Support the rule of law Improve access to justice Promote and protect consumer [and public] interest Promote competition Encourage a strong and effective legal profession Increase public understanding of rights Maintain the principles of legal services
“Lawyers” – new definitions/ career structures/opportunities l Susskind’s definition in The End of Lawyers? Expert trusted advisor l Legal knowledge engineer l Hybrids l Legal project manager l Legal risk manager l l Move to “legal literacy” for all?
Potential issues l l l l “Flashpoint” in advocacy services ABA Code suspicious of ABS but pressure is building in US Legal Professional Privilege Conflicts and confidentiality Indemnity insurance Risk based regulation and cost Training and qualification structures
The ABS Pioneers ? l What types business/structure/work? Entrepreneurial – Co Op/retail etc/publishing l Necessity? Local Authorities? l Networks? l Appetite for external investment? l Regulator “shopping” l l BSB and “advocacy firms”
Business sector need for “legal literacy” l Increased “legal literacy” required in many/most careers l law as a component in most business based learning (economics to engineering) Traditional knowledge base – problem solving techniques & black letter law l Skills based learning as an integrated part of law school curriculum from the start l The rise of legal ethics as a pervasive and fundamental part of the curriculum l Specialisation – task/function rather than profession l
Legal sector need for “business literacy” Business skills in risk, project management, budgetary constraints l Law as a “legal business” l l New focus on business modelling New forms of service delivery New professions… Legal impact on business management decisions…”lawyering”… l Law as a collaborative profession – not “closed” l
“go where the giant isn’t looking…” specialisation l l l l Work types: reserved & unreserved activity Specialisation/niche areas Dual qualification Flexibility Specialist accreditation panels Retraining and the challenge for education Become the giant…
Legal Services: “Big Bang” or “assisted” evolution? l … the clock has been ticking for years New business l New methods of service delivery l New career structures for legal advisers l l Watershed or logical “evolution”?
A lesson from history…
Discussion - where now and where next?