Government, LSB and Law Society join forces to take pre-ABS temperature of high street law firms

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By Legal Futures

30 November 2011

High street: how prepared are firms for ABSs?

The Legal Services Board is joining forces with the Ministry of Justice and the Law Society to ask 2,000 high street law firms how ready they are for the introduction of alternative business structures (ABSs).

It will form part of what is likely to be the largest ever survey of high street legal provision, with a strong focus on legal aid firms.

The goal of the research – which the trio this week put out to tender – is to “help us to understand more about the providers of legal services ahead of regulatory changes, the reforms to legal aid, and other significant changes in the legal sector”.

The ‘state of the market’ report which will follow will act as an initial baseline, with the potential for follow-up research to be commissioned at a later date to measure the impact of changes once they have bedded in.

In September the board published its first report on a specific sector of the market, benchmarking the work of City law firms.

Among the information the three bodies want to collect are the value and volumes of work conducted by high street firms, changes in staff and resources, “readiness for specific changes occurring in the market and wider changes in the market”, innovation within firms and financial issues, such as the effects of ABSs.

The research project is expected to take from January to July 2012. Those interested in conducting it have until 5 December to submit an expression of interest. See the Legal Services Board website for more details.

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2 Responses to “Government, LSB and Law Society join forces to take pre-ABS temperature of high street law firms”

  1. What is it with lawyers and their fixation with ABS?

    What does this report hope to achieve and will anyone pay much real attention to it, other than a spike in blog traffic amongst the converted chattering (legal) classes?

    ABS is a consequence. New entrants aren’t looking at this market because it is low in opportunity. Further, they are coming in because lawyers are letting them in.

    Even if you could ‘abracadabra’ ABS away tomorrow it would make little difference as the core fundamental problem is that the delivery of law, transparency, efficiency, ignorance of how their market works or wants to consume and failure to communicate the high value of what a lawyer delivers are what hamstrings most law firms.

    The drivers in legal services delivery are economic not regulatory; how do you deliver the same (or better) for less etc.

    That is nothing to do with ABS and everything to do with why we have ABS.

    So logic says to me; sort out the quality/delivery of what and how your market wants to consume and then you don’t need ABS or new entrants.

    Seems simple. But lawyers choose to over analyse, over think, ponder, debate (I mean they even joke about that publicly) and now create another report that will just confirm what everyone knows whilst tick follows tock follows tick.

    It is not correct to blame ABS for all your woes. Your woes are self created, self inflicted and, in the main, due to a failure to adapt.

    Harsh words maybe. Reality is harsh, very harsh, and dissapointing when lawyers offer huge value.


  2. Jon busby on November 30th, 2011 at 10:59 am
  3. Spot on Jon.

    Its a time for cool heads not hot ones.


  4. David R Johnston on December 8th, 2011 at 10:06 am

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