Granted there is much to criticise in the investment/business model of partnership but those are commercial problems that can be fixed privately. If they cannot, you walk, simple as that.
Reading, however, that James Caan now owns a law firm, I ruefully thought back to a time I cannot remember – because I was too young. It was that small step in history which opened the door to money talking louder than ethics or professionalism; when solicitors voted to allow advertising.
Recently heralded in these pages as natural and progressive – as almost ludicrous not to contemplate – advertising and the flow of commercialism of private practice has led in my view to the devaluation of the profession in the eyes of successive governments and the public. (Do not even get me started on the cringeable QualitySolicitors ‘brand’. What next, FairtradeOrganicLawyers4U?).
We are torn between being the most regulated profession and the pressure applied by the fact that 95% of what we do can be done by, well, anyone who hires a hotel conference room to sell their legal services in a roadshow without insurance, qualifications, or audit requirements.
If you put on the clothes of any other business, then you will be treated as such. Many readers will not see that as a problem. People for example who take or give kickbacks – sorry, referral fees. Or indeed wealthy businessmen who offer to buy babies.When you put money before ethics, anything is possible. Snake-oil anyone?
Peter Cox, Prospero, Broadstairs