Times changing for solicitors

Posted: 22/11/2011

The Alternative Business Structure (ABS) for the legal profession has been dubbed “Tesco Law” due to the possibility of non legal companies providing legal services. ABS’s are intended to give consumers a wider choice of legal services by allowing law firms to take external investment and be owned by non-lawyers for the first time, meaning companies can run their own legal arms.

No one looking at the legal profession over the last few years will have failed to notice that ‘Tesco Law’ is coming and will have an effect on solicitors large and small. Tesco Law will open up the provision of legal services to the likes of, Tesco, AA, BSM, Rentokil etc. With the full implementation of the Legal Services Act coming into effect it has been said that the traditional high street practice is doomed. Whether this is reality or scaremongering only time will tell. However, there can be no doubt that times are changing for solicitors and that deregulation is only one of a number of issues which will affect the legal profession. What are solicitors to do? Some will no doubt apply to be regulated under ABS rules. Others may feel that they have had enough, fold their tent and walk away. Property And Land Information (Pali Ltd) was started in 1999 on the Wirral to provide conveyancing searches to solicitors such as Local Authority Searches, Environmental Searches and Drainage and Water Searches and now has offices around the country offering a nationwide service. Today their product portfolio has increased and they now offer Indemnity Polices, Anti-Money Laundering Searches, Ordnance Survey Plans and much more. As well as their traditional and online services Pali have developed a web based, public facing service to bring together solicitors to form a loose alliance and allow them to offer a nationwide service to both the public and commercial clients. Solicitors register with Palilaw.com and list a number of specialist subjects they are prepared to offer free advice on. Initially a person with a legal query can access Palilaw.com and ask a question which will be directed to the solicitor nearest to their postcode who has listed the area of law in question. The solicitor will give a free response but if both parties agree that a meeting would be of benefit the solicitor’s office should not be too far away. The enquirer is in contact with a progressive innovative solicitor who in turn may get a new client. Win win.

With a nationwide network of solicitors this model should also be attractive to the corporate market as most legal transactions would benefit from a face to face meeting at some point. With this model the solicitor does not lose their company identity and can benefit from all the other services offered by Pali.

For more information go to www.palilaw.com or phone Jo Milne on 0151 691 1170.

(1) Comments solicitors, conveyancing, pali law

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