The prevailing view of the likely impact of the Legal Services legislation and the Carter Review on the legal profession’s composition is the disappearance of at least 4,000 small law firms. For example, see here
Having over the years attended conferences and read articles, I know it is generally accepted that the future is big and niche (rather than small and niche). However, I have trouble reconciling this prediction with the other trend in society today, of the rise in the number of the self employed, and people setting up their own small businesses. For many people it is the ultimate dream to generate their own income, and not be beholden to an employer. Solicitors and other professionals are similarly choosing to set up their own practices. So, I have difficulty understanding how the prediction that the future is big corporate entity, can sit alongside the fact that so many people in society nowadays do not want the corporate lifestyle and all that it entails. What is to happen to them in the new climate? Are we likely to see an ever growing increase in businesses like Lawyers Direct that offer lower cost legal services by using solicitor consultants who are self employed? In many ways this might mirror the Financial Services Industry where it is common for a large corporation to take care of professional indemnity and regulatory matters, using a network of self employed consultants. Any future predictions anyone?