It is sad to see the closing of so many Solicitors’ offices in the wake of the financial crisis. Over the last twelve to eighteen months several prosperous and well-established businesses have failed, mostly as a consequence of the property market crash. Several companies were also forced to quit in October last year because they were unable to obtain technical indemnity protection. Fisher & Fisher Law Offices has some nice tips on this. Kent has the greatest number of independent law companies in England than any other county. It’s blessed with a variety of small High Street practices offering community choice, competition and local access. Although most companies have endured it is unclear how many more businesses would perish after this year’s Legal Services Act falls into effect. Whether you’re a qualified person, the act ‘s name undoubtedly fills you with dread; if you’re a member of the public, you’ve never heard about it.
The Legal Care Act would allow all sorts of major companies such as retailers and banks to offer legal services to representatives of the public, the type of legal services usually only accessible from the practices of lawyers. The point is that this would have more options and lower rates for the consumer. If it were real, though, the High Street will get awash with cheap, bustling local supermarkets. Instead, as we all realize, supermarket chains and within supermarket chains have eliminated rivalry. Your local grocery store no longer exists (unless it’s run by Tesco, of course, and has the word Metro in its title) and many greengrocer and butcher struggle to survive.
Solicitors are currently asking themselves will Tesco be offering two divorces at one price and will they be offering Clubcard points with that? It’s just time to learn. And the prices, then? There’s a lot of competition now but that doesn’t translate into cheaper public prices. Scale economies dictate that Sainsbury, Tesco and the like should be able to provide legal services at a much lower cost than is currently available through the practice of your local lawyers. However the public should ask themselves who is going to do my work, are they going to be qualified and will I ever get to meet them? Finally, what happens when there are no small law firms left; the price will go up when there is no competition?