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By Nick Hood
When the Legal Services Act 2007 was enacted, it’s doubtful that its sponsors could have foreseen a Cyprus-based construction consulting firm embracing the concept to enhance its international credibility. Nor would they have anticipated it bringing together Bucks County Council & the Bucks Fire Authority as law services providers.
These are just two of the most recent developments in this extraordinary phenomenon, which has previously seen such diverse new players as the transport company Stobarts, the Co-Op, a Nordic family wealth management office, the legal textbooks co Jordans, the outsourcing giant Capita and the insurers Direct Line enter the legal market.
The original imperative for this radical change to the fusty collegiate world of lawyers owed much to the need to facilitate the introduction of external capital and with it, the sort of management expertise that might propel the profession into 21st century. It was also an envious nod to the success of accounting firms in becoming proper businesses, in which the gross habits of the partners no longer constrain the net income of the firm.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has now issued well over 200 ABS licences in the two years or so since the legislation came into force. Most have got off to good starts, although a premature stock market listing may have been behind the
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Nick Hood is a Director of the legal costs firm, Kain Knight. He is a
Chartered Accountant and also an insolvency practitioner with the
Begbies Traynor Group, as well as a business risk analyst for corporate
health monitoring experts, Company Watch.
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