A brave new Bar—challenges for the new decade

A brave new Bar—challenges for the new decade

With the beginning of the new decade comes new predictions for what the future may hold. For the legal profession in particular there is an air of uncertainty. With Brexit on the horizon, a growing culture of doing more for less and the implementation of SRA changes in late 2019, it’s no wonder that the comfortable stability the profession has often known has been shaken.

For the Bar in particular the outlook for the future would seem bleak, with the number of cases reaching Court declining, Legal Aid cuts, rising rents and falling fees.

However, LexisNexis A Brave New Bar painted a contrasting more optimistic picture for the future of the profession. Those surveyed reported that their own practice is either stable or growing compared to three years ago—with 67% of those surveyed expecting practices to grow or remain stable over the next three years.

Though individual’s feel their practices will grow, their outlook for the future of the Bar as a whole was entirely different, with a strong twang of pessimism. This was particularly prevalent around issues such as:

  • wellbeing
  • increasing regulations and admin around Data Protection (GDPR), Money Laundering and HMRC’s ‘Making Tax Digital’ resulting in less time for barristers to spend on their cases and clients
  • cuts to Legal aid and the move to fixed costs
  • little time for perceived ‘luxuries’ like business development or marketing

Challenges to the progression of the Bar


A topic that appears frequently in the legal profession, as highlighted in the previous Bellwether report: Stress in the Legal Profession, more than 60% of legal professionals were experiencing high levels of stress on a day to day basis, and that ring true also for the Bar.

With physical and emotional drains, such as long and unsociab

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About the author:

Hannah is one of the Future of Law blog’s digital and technical editors. She graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in History and Politics and previously freelanced for News UK, before working as a senior news editor for LexisNexis.