Most lawyers expect the law firm partnership model to wither over the next decade, as the legal services market embraces alternative business structures and technology, while ditching hourly billing – according to a new survey.
Lord Sumption, the outspoken Supreme Court justice, has said he regrets the “growing tendency of would-be lawyers to devote themselves to the study of law from the age of eighteen”. In an ideal world, law should only be offered as a second degree as “the study of a different subject at a formative time of one’s life” was “personally enriching”.
A gender gap in salaries continues to dog the solicitors’ profession, with men earning on average almost a fifth more than women, according to an earnings survey conducted by the Law Society. Meanwhile, a niche City law firm that shares its profit among all staff has paid out more than the equivalent of a year’s salary to every employee in four years.
The body representing chartered legal executives has called on the profession to end discrimination against lawyers who have qualified through non-university routes and open up the senior judiciary to those entered the law by alternative means.
A law firm and solicitor found to have sexually discriminated against a student who worked there for six weeks have lost their appeal against the £14,000 award for injury to feelings. In her interview, the solicitor “jokingly” asked her to marry him, and commented on her figure.
Chambers are seeing more grievances over discriminatory treatment by both employees and members, according to solicitors who advise them on dealing with their equality and diversity obligations. They said diversity presents a “particular challenge to chambers largely as a result of their unique business structure.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has dismissed an appeal against a decision that a top-100 regional law firm was not guilty of age discrimination against one of its partners, after he was not offered a new partnership when it restructured.
A paralegal’s claim of disability discrimination after he was sacked by a law firm was wrongly struck out, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled. However, HHJ David Richardson said that Leicester firm Bond Adams had a strong case.
DAS Law – the alternative business structure set up by the eponymous legal expenses insurer – is launching a pioneering graduate academy for “lawyers of the future”, with the first six recruits starting next month. Staff numbers at the firm have doubled to around 220 since it was created in 2013.
Almost half of law firms have already moved to the new approach of ‘continuing competence’ that no longer includes collecting CPD points – nearly six months ahead of it becoming compulsory.Meanwhile, the Bar Standards Board has announced that similar CPD regime for barristers will go live in January 2017.