Legal Services Should Be Legal

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The Legal profession is one of the oldest, most respected professions in the world which has undergone significant changes over the years. Despite the ever changing face of the law and the way in which it is provided, the allowance of alternative business structures (henceforth referred to as ABS) in the legal sector appears to be causing a disputed discussion both outside and within the legal community. One of the core aspects of the new provisions is that legal services can now be provided by non-lawyers in accordance with the Legal Services Act of 2007 (henceforth referred to as LSA). Prior to this act, it has always been understood that legal services should only be provided by legal professionals i.e. Lawyers. However, the LSA has…show more content…
Part 5 of the LSA introduced changes by allowing ABS to apply for licenses to provide legal services. The Law Society defines an ABS as “a firm where a non-lawyer is a manager of the firm or has an ownership-type interest in the firm ”. A firm may also be considered an ABS if “at least ten percent of the body is controlled by non-lawyers ”. The Law Society continues this by defining ‘non-lawyers’ as people who are “not authorised under the Legal Services Act 2007 to carry out reserved legal activities ”. Part 3, Section 12 of the LSA sets out what qualifies as ‘reserved legal activity ’. Although this seems to indicate that only fully qualified lawyers can undertake reserved work, it does not mean that it is not detrimental to them because the majority of legal work is classed as ‘unreserved’. Therefore, more individuals who do not have legal qualifications can undertake this work. Thus an issue arises, as the LSA allows “non-lawyers to own and invest in law firms ”, going against the initial belief that legal services should only be provided by lawyers. “ABS have been denounced as threatening the integrity of the legal profession by some lawyers, who believe that competitors from outside the profession introduce a risk of conflict of interests ”. This is supported by Lord Neuberger who said in 2013 that “the rise of ABS and external investment needed rules in place to stem the risk of the "unyielding tentacles of self-interest". “He also warned
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