If you thought 2010 was tough on lawyers, just wait for 2011. Gloomy predictions will continue to become a reality for many firms and individuals across our region. Already reeling from an economic recession that has taken its toll on partner profits and employee head counts, cuts to the legal aid budget will place an intolerable burden on the profession as it strives to sustain its world- leading standard of access to justice at all levels of society, irrespective of wealth, status and background.
I fear it is on the high street that these cuts will be felt the most and the suffering will be hardest. The next blow will be the introduction of Alternative Business Structures and the threat of ‘Tesco Law’ made real. Only those firms that are prepared and have had the foresight to expect the worst will come out with a fighting chance. The growth of co-operative style law firms may be a solution, but fast action is required.
Once a toe has been dipped in the water by the likes of Saga and the Co-op, the first bite may be the biggest; bystanders will be left behind.
But there is some good news! We all have a Royal Wedding to look forward to and an extra day off.
Now, where’s my Jet2 timetable… I’m not sure I can cope with so much flag-waving fun!
This article first appeared in the Leeds & Yorkshire Lawyer in February 2011