Interviews with 15 sixteen + partner solicitors firms found that:
Partners and graduate recruitment consultants from commercial firms acknowledged during the interview process that it is standard practice to award informal work experience to the children of clients as part of their business development activities. Page 1
Research report looking at the potential impact of ABS on geographical access -
Interviews with 15 stakeholders (existing providers and potential new entrants).
Reports findings of interviews showed that “ABS are likely to have a positive effect on the ability of more capital intensive, conglomerate (i.e. legal + non-legal), profit-driven firms to enter the legal services market. In addition many high-cost (principally small consumer facing) law firms are unlikely to be competitive on their current business model. Small firms are more vulnerable because legal advice can be provided via the Internet and telephone at lower cost, and these means of delivering legal advice are subject to greater economies of scale that traditional face-to-face provision. Small firms may find it difficult to raise capital.” Page 11
The interviews indicate that new entrants will offer low costs services, and utilise existing trusted brands, which will become a substitute for local firm names.
Interview participants suggested that “in order to remain viable, small solicitor firms will in future need to specialise away form basic legal services which can be provided remotely. For example specialising in clients who value face to face contact and a personal service (potentially elderly, disabled, and high-net-worth clients) and in legal matters which involve fewer process aspects and more bespoke advice (for example child custody or divorce). In this way smaller firms might differentiate themselves form the large ABS firms by finding a specialised part of the market that is not suitable for high volume, remote access legal advice.” Page 13
Considering general theory of purchase of credence goods,
“The brand or trademark is to a large extent explained by the fact that the variation of the levels of quality characteristics of a commodity tends to be less between specimens from a single producer-seller than between specimens from different sellers”. Page 6
Competition for barrister pupillages is intense (page 26).
Considering international legal services:
Competition for business in international financial markets is largely between London & US law firms, though European firms are becoming more active,
US law firms cover the same range of banking and capital market activities,
US firms win fewer but larger deal because of strong links with US investment banks, whilst London firms international coverage has enabled them to build relationships with these banks as their share of the European & Asian markets has grown. Page 7
How criminal solicitors gain access to clients:
Nearly all of the solicitors interviewed reported that the majority of their clients were repeat clients. Several solicitors noted that they were now representing the second or third generation of certain families. Fee-earners reported that their firms obtained new clients through police and court duty schemes, or through recommendations. These recommendations might be personal or from other criminal justice practitioners (e.g. probation officers or the police).
A solicitor-advocate suggested that an unforeseen problem of having higher rights of audience was that as he was no longer seen at the police station and magistrates
In C.J. Wouters, J.W. Savelbergh and Price Waterhouse Belastingadviseurs BV v Algemene Raad van de Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten, intervener: Raad van de Balies van de Europese Gemeenschapk, 2002, the European Court of Justice said that even if the rules of the legal profession did distort or restrict competition this would not be sufficient to render them prohibited. On the contrary the need to preserve and promote competition would need to be balanced against other legitimate objectives such as supervisory, ethical or other legitimate objectives of the profession. Page 64
Law firms have not placed a priority on innovation. Examples of innovation for competitive advantage include development of a new defence. Law firms are more likely to innovate when they expect to be able to apply the innovation to a large number of clients. – Pages 2178/79
Law firms have no intellectual property protection for any innovations they develop – Page 2179
Partnership structure, particularly in larger firms, can discourage investment in innovation – Pages 2179/2180
Outlines various reforms to the conveyancing market, which had removed regulatory restrictions (page 796).
Report indicates that criminal legal aid work is “close to that of a competitive market” – page 23.
Reports suggests that LSC tendering leads to winners and losers (page 8)
Analysis of the PI market:
Reporting on a survey by the Law Society – “Regarding the funding of referral fees, the survey found that
Barristers potential to compete on quality:
The Bar can only succeed if can demonstrate the high quality of its advocacy service. On this basis, competition from high quality HCAs is to be welcomed. The Bar should, therefore campaign to ensure that satisfactory quality controls are put in place to ensure that HCAs are providing that high quality service.