As the post LASPO dust finally starts to settle, there’s been a lot of coverage about the winners (if there are any) and the losers in the new landscape.
Is anyone happy? Well, defendant liability insurers are bemoaning the fact that claim numbers are back to pre-quarter one 2013 levels and that the predicted savings haven’t yet materialised.
Equally claimant law firms are struggling to make general personal injury and fast-track claims pay. As a result redundancies, mergers and acquisitions are on the rise.
I and my colleagues are currently holding our collective breath to see what will really happen once the pre-LASPO work in progress finally dries up. Will there really be carnage?
Unfortunately I can’t see the future. However, what I do see are parallels with the insurance broking market of the early 2000s.
At that time, compliance and regulation were the main drivers for small brokers looking for an escape route. As a result we saw the rise of the consolidator (for Slater & Gordon read Towergate and others) in which broking giants were able to leverage their buying power and obtain greater financial returns. So, will the likes of Slater & Gordon dominate the personal injury marketplace? Only time will tell.
What I am a starting to see, though, is that the law firms with a clear strategy and who concentrate on specific sectors are making the most of their expertise and are moving ahead. They appear however, to be in the minority and I believe that it is only just dawning on the partners of some firms that they should have made some painful decisions two years ago.
Past failures to act regarding resource and process could mean that instead of being masters of their own destiny, someone else could be calling the tune.
The next six months will prove crucial in shaping the future personal injury market. Claims aren’t going away and quite frankly the Jackson reforms weren’t about ridding the market of genuine claims but rather about reducing cost and speeding up process.
So, like most things in life, the fittest will survive. I do hope law firms have put in sufficient training.
If there are any lawyers out there who are starting to relax, believing that predictions of the demise of law as we have known it in the face of technological change have been exaggerated, they should think again as 2017 begins. A growing hum of activity by the sort of bright and industrious people who have transformed the world in many other respects is being heard in legal corridors hitherto largely undisturbed by the modern world. As their ideas achieve traction, they will disrupt the profession and perhaps even displace lawyers who imagined their careers were set to last a lifetime.