Legal professionals from across the UK held a forum at the new £5.5m College of Law in Manchester to discuss the changing face of the profession.
The event was part of a national roadshow held by the Legal Services Board, which is responsible for overseeing legal regulators in England and Wales.
In the wake of The Legal Services Act of 2007, legal practitioners were urged to modernise and embrace a ‘brave new world’, with the introduction of Alternative Business Structures set to come into force in 2011.
This was the message from a panel of high profile industry speakers at the College, including David Edmonds - Chair of the Legal Services Board, Chris Kenny - Chief Executive of the Legal Services Board, David Anderson – Development Manager at St John’s Chambers, Antony Townsend – Chief Executive of the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority and Adam Sampson – Chief Executive of the Office for Legal Complaints.
The dawn of Alternative Business Structures marks the end of ‘vanilla’ law practice, with a shift towards a more dynamic, integrated service. The panel advised professionals to adapt in line with a changing market created by a more demanding and cash-conscious consumer.
Nigel Savage, Chief Executive of The College of Law, chaired a debate about the future of the profession, based on the impact of emerging new business models. He commented: “It’s significant the new Manchester centre was chosen as the host venue given that the future of the profession was the core issue of debate.
“The College is preparing its students for the new legal landscape using the latest education techniques. This will equip them with a finely honed skill-set to operate in a highly competitive and evolved market. It is vital that the law professionals of tomorrow are geared up for new ways of working."
David Edmonds, Chair of the Legal Services Board said: “The event presented a valuable opportunity for lawyers and members of the wider business community to come together and influence the future of legal services delivery in England and Wales.
“The new forms of business we discussed will be ones in which providers of legal support and providers of other professional services can come together to deliver new and more flexible packages of advice to consumers."