Exclusive: ‘Save the Legal Industry’ campaign warns Cameron of 100,000 jobs losses

Campaign: petition to be delivered to Downing Street

Law firms are rallying around a campaign to warn the government that 100,000 jobs across the legal services industry will be lost over the next year as a result of its “savage” civil justice reforms, Legal Futures can reveal.

The ‘Save the Legal Industry’ campaign said law firms are already making layoffs and going bust ahead of the changes, with non-legal staff such as secretaries and administrative staff bearing the brunt – a situation that increasing the small claims limit for whiplash cases from £1,000 to £5,000 will exacerbate severely, it predicted.

Highlighting the “human toll” of the reform programme, it accused the government of ignoring the widespread impact of the changes across the sector, including claims management companies, medical reporting agencies, credit hire companies and others.

Following a meeting of managing partners in Manchester last week, well-known personal injury firms such as Amelans, Antony Hodari, Fentons, Jeffries Solicitors, Tollers and Gorman Hamilton have all backed the campaign, which is headed by Martin Coyne, managing partner of Manchester-based Ralli.

The campaign aims to gather at least 10,000 names on a petition that will be delivered to 10 Downing Street next Thursday, just four days before the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 comes into force. This would require the government to issue a response to the petition; 100,000 signatures triggers consideration of a parliamentary debate. (Pending approval of the government e-petition, you can sign here.)

Mr Coyne said he has already had to make a fifth of his 85-strong personal injury department redundant as he contends with a likely 33% reduction in turnover because of the new portal fees. “I am doing everything I can to sustain the business. A lot of other firms are in the same boat.”

He continued: “The ultimate aim of the reforms, according to the government, is to reduce car insurance premiums. But the likes of Direct Line have already admitted that they will make no difference. What’s left is an attack on the economy at a time when the country can afford it least.

“Where do David Cameron and Chris Grayling think this many people will be able to find new jobs? In pandering to the wishes of the insurance lobby, this government will imperil many families and only end up increasing the welfare bill.”

Mr Coyne said he and his colleagues were taking up the cudgels because solicitors had been badly let down by their representative body. “The Law Society should have been at the forefront of this fight, but instead they’ve sat back and left it to others. This shameful inaction should have the same kind of consequences it is having for those it purports to represent, and so we call on the leadership of the Law Society to take responsibility.”

Others to have signed up to the campaign include law firms Russell & Russell, Beers, Edwards Hoyle and The Clarke Partnership, as well as Cobden House Chambers and after-the-event insurance company Keystone Legal.


    Readers Comments

  • Martin Coyne for President !!…..well, no other person or organisation is looking after us…

  • Kim Evans says:

    I also think that solicitors and barristers should be uniting on these issues and fighting together

  • Guy says:

    hear hear

  • Kerry sweeney says:

    Save the Legal Industry

  • Not sure the Bold Group members would agree Andrew.

  • Howards solicitors says:

    Howards solicitors support this campaign in full .

  • Hilary Bennett says:

    Mrs Thatcher’s Victorian values plough on. The poor in society ground down. The law, education and health will become accessible only to the rich

  • A bit too late my friends. What a surprise that this is led by north west firms,. They have grown on the back of claim farmers who they have fueled for the last 13 years. You reap what sawe.

  • Peter Maynard says:

    At last somebody seems to be doing something.

    I seem to remember from many years back there was an organisation…..can’t remember it’s name….was it something like The Law Society……..that was supposed to look after the interests of solicitors………..no, I must be imagining it…………

  • stephen almond says:

    how and where do i put my name to the list

  • How much of this is down to the lawyers themselves? Not bringing their businesses into 21st century, trying to add excessive extras onto bills (£30 for a tt fee that only costs £15 etc) and massive failure to comply with SRAARs because the lawyers think they know it all and won’t be told.

  • alison Noonan says:

    How many jobs will be lost if this goes through , THINK Mr Cameron !!!!

  • As a result of these reforms HMRC are going to miss the contribution made by law firms for both tax and vat not to mention the strain which will be put on the welfare system following the loss of 100,000 well paid jobs which contributed to the wealth of the nation. We will now see insurers increasing profits and more money going overseas and poorly paid jobs at outsourced call centres in foreign countries. They call this progress!

  • Siobhan Thomas says:

    Speaking as a personal injury lawyer dealing with EL, PL and OL claims, it is not just whiplash claims (which I accept in some cases may be spurious) that the Jackson reforms will affect. It is the the personal injury industry as a whole, including insurance companies, as the reforms clearly seek to prevent many cases getting to court in the first place which means Defendant firms will also suffer. I did not envisage spending years training to become a lawyer only to be told by the Government that we cannot charge the rates we are entitled to based on our experience and qualifications. How are now expected to run a case at roughly 1/3 of the actual cost it takes to properly deal with it? The SRA will not relax the rules yet we will inevitably have to cut corners to make any sort of profit. Absolute madness!

  • The LEIG (Legal Expense Insurance Group), supporting AJAG have been on this issue for the last 3-4 years. I’ve signed the petition, lobbied my MP and Elite (as well as others) have spent £1000s – we will continue but it is wearing that not everyone who is involved in the industry has signed yet or got involved sooner.

    We can’t just simply look to individuals to carry the fight. Although I agree it is shameful that the Law Society hasn’t got behind this sooner but being fragmented in this fight has helped, not hindered the ABI. The criticism should be levied later once everything is exhausted.

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