The new type of business, which the Law Society refers to as a legal disciplinary practice, enables non-lawyers to own up to 25% of a law firm. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can start suing people – that pleasure will be restricted to qualified lawyers.
Realistically, we’re not going to suddenly see thousands of mortgage brokers or estate agents hammering on their local solicitors’ doors offering to buy a stake in their firms. The change has been introduced primarily to enable law firms to give their senior finance, IT and marketing managers a vested interest in the businesses for which they work.
But it is possible that some brokers may view this as a chance to forge even stronger bonds with law firms with whom they already have close relationships.
It marks the start of what is going to be a period of dramatic change for the legal profession.
Further reform of the Legal Services Act means that by 2011 or 2012 corporate bodies will be allowed to own law firms – so it will be welcome to the world of Tesco legal services.
That means that mortgage brokers have a two-year window of opportunity to make clients aware they can arrange competitively priced, high quality legal services support on their behalf.
If you don’t, I know a supermarket near you that will.