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


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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