A doomsday scenario for high street solicitors in rural Wales could also apply to parts of England, a solicitor has warned following a report warning of emerging ‘advice deserts’.
Manifesto for Advice in Wales, published by a commission set up by the Legal Action Group, says recruitment in the rural legal economy is ‘inadequate’.
‘Currently, there is a population of rural solicitors ageing without new blood to replenish firms for the future,’ the Low Commission’s manifesto states. ‘This decline is not due to the lack of demand for legal services; reasons range from regulatory disincentives to lack of management capacity to grow legal businesses.’
Michael Strain, a partner at Pwllheli firm Martin & Strain, told the Gazette he agreed but said ‘the same point could be made about Cornwall, Cumbria and other rural parts of Britain’.
He said: ‘The pressure is primarily on mixed-service high street practices, where work is being gradually siphoned away at the margins by bigger firms based in conurbations. They’re all chipping away at the edges.’
The manifesto proposes creating ‘enhanced’ capacity at the ‘second tier’, consisting of frontline advisers, agencies and firms providing online and telephone access to legal advice.