After a turbulent year and some headline making events from the legal world during 2010 (who can possibly forget the downfall and on-going saga surrounding Halliwells?) what can law firms look forward to in 2011? Some of the more significant reforms tied into the Legal Services Act come into force this year, which will lead to some major changes in the sector.
The Legal Services Act 2007 aims to put the consumer at the centre of a new legal services framework. This could lead to some of the country’s biggest companies (eg supermarkets, banks) entering the legal services marketplace. It will also allow law firms to create Alternative Business Structures (ABS), where non lawyers will be able to become owners of the firm.
These proposed reforms should benefit consumers through offering greater power and choice to the individual. If law firms want to compete with the likes of “Tesco Law” then they will need to consider changing the way they deliver their services. Consumers have high expectations with regards to customer service and are used to 24 hour helplines and on-line banking and shopping – it is likely they will expect similar access to their legal services and law firms are going to have to move away from the traditional image of a Solicitor’s practice and fully understand and adapt to the needs of their customer.