WHAT NEXT IN THE LIGHT of CHRIS GRAYLINGS ANNOUNCEMENT
The announcement ,yesterday,that The Lord Chancellor would preserve client choice,is to be applauded and is a testimony to the hard work and passion of the Legal Community. However to what extent will client choice be preserved? In order to be selected by clients BAME firms,offering Access to Justice for local communities, have to survive. Chris Grayling mentioned “managed market consolidation ‘” when he spoke yesterday. The idea is still one about fewer and larger firms. BAME owned firms tend to be smaller ones,(Law Society figures from the publication ,Trends in the legal profession,show that more than 50% cent of BAME solicitors can be found in firms of 5 partners or less). The announcement by The Lord Chancellor makes it more likely that the largest of criminal defence firms will be interested in increasing their market share. If the choice of firms on offer,post reforms,is one of a handful of faceless supermarket law firms then the minority communities of London will be equally ill served and diversity within the profession will still be undermined. Finally there is no guarantee that Price Competitive Tendering is dead. Previous iterations have not included a cap on market share.