Wishful thinking

Paul Marsh, past president of the Law Society and a residential conveyancer, stood down from the Law Society Council in July. In “Property in Practice” – the Law Society Property Group’s magazine – he reflected on the changes he has seen since he qualified in 1972. One particular comment caught my eye – I nearly exploded when I read it:
“Local firms, owned and managed by local people, and at the very centre of local communities, which continue to provide a trusted, reliable and thoroughly professional service, delivered using the best of modern technology, will continue to thrive”

Well, I wish it were true, but I think it is a case of wishful thinking. I agree such firms should, in fairness, at least survive, but all the signs are that life is not fair and they will not survive. The big lenders, insurers and other organisations will swamp the market; professionalism will be a thing of the past – it is already going that way, and a number of solicitors are by no means blameless.  As for thriving: not many firms have done that since October 2008, in my experience, and it is not getting any easier. I feel that, as a business community, we are sleepwalking into the arms of big business, and the result will be merely mediocre service for real people

Don’t get me wrong: I’d love the statement to be true. Realistically, however, it is a dream, and we are about to experience the nightmare – you’ll miss us [good, local solicitors] when we’re gone!


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