Four first-rate letters from David Kirwan, Greg Powell, Malcolm Fowler and Nigel A Jones (17 March). All are spot on, pointing up the half-baked idiocies the government forces upon the profession. The news reports on further justifiable disquiet about the Jackson reforms and the new plans for Land Registry.
Meanwhile, Professor Gus John’s study suggests that black and minority ethnic solicitors are over-represented in disciplinary investigations because they are over-represented as sole practitioners. There may be some truth in that, but the tenor of the piece rather suggests they should be weaned away from sole practice.
As a quality standards consultant after I ceased practising, I worked with many such firms, helping them with their franchising and quality mark requirements. Most were immigration or crime specialists. There is to me absolutely no reason why any person of whatever race should not set up as a sole practitioner.
This is all to do with the way governments operate legal aid – or in this one’s case, what’s left of it. It desperately wants a few big suppliers and would, if it could, override client choice to that end. But given that BME lawyers are particularly prone to that latter-day disease known as ‘sole practice’, who is really ‘institutionally racist’? Perhaps our friend Mr Grayling would like to consider that question.
Ian Craine, London N15