Barnetts responds to government White Paper

Richard Barnett, senior partner of Barnetts Solicitors, has welcomed the legal reforms set out by the Lord Chancellor in the White Paper published on the October 17 2005.

Barnet, who is an advocate of change within the profession, says the reforms will pave the way for the industry to become more efficient and create a host of opportunities.

He says: “From digesting the White Paper it looks like there are no nasty shocks in store and many in the profession including myself are not surprised by its content. Its pretty much as we had expected.

“The regulatory changes have been anticipated and Ive been very impressed by the Law Societys work to date. Similarly the Tesco Law and its provision which have been widely reported on will bring flexibility to the practicing of law.

“Certainly for Barnetts, it would give us opportunities to work with our commercial partners in a very different way.

“I also think the move to open up outside investment and the possibility of non-lawyers owning a firm is a good move. Lawyers dont always make the best managers and this is a principle of ours that has paid dividends. Joe Whelan, our chief executive, is not a lawyer but he is a good business strategist and effective manager. He has undoubtedly been a key to the firms ongoing success.

“However, outside investment needs to be regulated and the individuals who effectively own a practice will need to be thoroughly vetted. I can understand the reservations of fellow lawyers, but I think there will be sufficient safeguards in place to prevent any wrong doing.”

In July 2005 Barnett was elected to the Law Societys Council.