From here to Oblivion.The death of the solicitor? by Sundeep Bhatia
Today the badge of Solicitor is looking more tarnished than it did when I wrote my original blog.
A pattern of behaviour ,by the SRA, is developing which appears to threaten the existence of the Profession as we know it.
The announcement ,that paralegals are to be given an easier route to qualification ,as a Solicitor,represents another step in that direction .
In saying that I take into consideration the fact that,in the short term,measures may alleviate the misery of thousands of people caught in the no mans land between student and trainee.
Measures might even,in the short term ,increase diversity within the profession .
However I believe that the long term effects,unless heavily restricted,will be detrimental .
The four consultation papers from earlier this year, indicate that the motivation of the SRA seemed to be to increase competition at the expense of the profession and,more importantly,the welfare of the public.
The first part of their plan,so far as I can see it,seems to be to create competitors to traditional law firms, who they can regulate, such as Multi Disciplinary Partnerships.
Indeed one of the four consultation papers sought to actively promote the creation of MDPs by means of avoiding “duplication of regulation.” The second appears to be to provide these new entities with a cheaper workforce .
The minimum salary for trainees and the newly announced provisions regarding paralegals all seem designed to achieve this aim.
Changes to education mean that the Solicitors of tomorrow will not have the all round capabilities of their predecessors.
I choose not to conduct probate or conveyancing work.However my innate knowledge of those fields,from my training,give me the ability to know when,why ,how and who,to refer clients to.
Newly qualified solicitors,in the future,will not have the same peripheral vision.
Members of the public will be the losers.
The Solicitors who serve them will be less qualified.
Diluting entry requirements will undoubtedly cheapen the value and worth of being a solicitor .
However the public will be less protected by professional indemnity insurance due to planned limits on aggregate claims and a reduction in the minimum level of cover solicitors are required to hold.
That is not acceptable