The Legal Services Act changes the way in which legal services are regulated in England and Wales. One of the biggest reforms will be the introduction of Alternative Business Structures (ABS) which are due to be permitted from October 2011.
This will completely change the structure of law firms to allow external investment, generating business in different ways and will also allow Property Solicitors and non solicitors to work together.
The property market is still suffering from the effects of the recession and ABS are therefore set to come in at a terrible time. While the property market is very slowly improving there will be stiff competition in the fight of a much smaller market come October 2011.
It is argued that ABS will drive out smaller high street Solicitors firms which will be unable to compete against such companies based on factors such as the cost of marketing (some firms simply do not have sufficient funds or resources for major marketing) and the ability of some ABS to provide cheaper services .
That said, the advantage small high street firms will have is that their solicitors can provide specialist advice and a personalised service. Some people will simply not wish to go to a company who provides all manner of services, for the purchase of their beloved home, opting instead for a more personal touch which can be provided by a smaller high street firm.
The ability to succeed in the world of conveyancing is to ‘move with the times. ’ If high street solicitors are not to be out done by the ABS they must ensure they modernise their practices and systems and invest in proper IT services. With E-Conveyancing on our doorstep it is imperative that firms invest in this way in order to compete with ABS’s and to stay afloat.