The big bang, the watershed moment, whatever you want to call it the legal market is at that pivotal point where everything is about to change. There has been a great deal of focus on the big providers coming into the market such as Co-operative Legal Services with fixed price family law services. Then there was the Slater and Gordon acquisition of Russell Jones & Walker. Both have recently been awarded ABS licenses and it seems to indicate that big is better, however do you have to be huge to survive in the new market?
Not according to Karl Chapman, CEO of Riverview Law, who thinks that smaller specialist practices will flourish. At the Legal Futures conference on the 23rd April Karl indicated that there was no single perfect model and that there would be a number of different ways for law firms to offer their services.
There have been a couple of boutique practices appear on my radar in the last few weeks, Artesian Law being the first that I noticed. Artesian is a LDP consisting of six barristers and a solicitor who all specialise in criminal law. According to their website they have “adopted a partnership structure, pooling our collective experience to form a close-knit and well-managed team“. Whilst they don’t currently have a contract direct with the LSC and thus rely on referral work they do have a structure which is ready for the future.
Edwards Marshall McMahon are another niche LDP who offer “tailor-made private prosecution packages to companies and individuals“. They provide clients with access to justice using a quicker and cheaper alternative to the traditional route through the civil courts. This is a particularly interesting venture as it seems to offer something new, something more accessible.
The next wave of new entrants into the market will continue to provide a great deal of variety in size however there will need to be one overriding objective, that customers needs are at the very centre of everything that you do. Without that it really doesn’t matter how big you are.