• A growing industry: law students need to wake up to job opportunities offered by new breed of law firms

    30 May 2013

    • Almost 150 licences granted to Alternative Business Structures since March 201
    • 63% of prospective solicitors agree that ABSs provide wider employment opportunities

    A survey conducted by The University of Law shows that law students are gradually waking up to Alternative Business Structures (ABS) and the career opportunities that they present.

    However, the survey also highlights a resistance to ABS and the changing face of the legal services industry.  

    The results of the University’s survey show that 63% of prospective solicitors agreed that the introduction of ABS provides wider employment opportunities for lawyers. This is a 9% increase from the previous year’s survey.  Forty seven percent of respondents, an 8% increase from the previous year, felt that ABS also provided lawyers with more options for developing skills and progressing their careers.

    ABS are proving to be an increasingly popular choice for the legal services industry. Since March 2012 one hundred and forty nine ABS licences have been granted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, with well known brands such as The Co-op, Direct Line and BT all receiving licences. 

    Jenny Beck, Director of Family Law and Head of Professional Practice at Co-operative Legal Services, says: “ABS is a very significant development for the legal industry and law students need to be aware of the opportunities it brings. It is good to see from The University of Law’s survey that awareness of the different types of career path now on offer is on the increase. Within the larger ABS firms, trainee solicitors have the opportunity to develop not only their core legal skills but also complementary business skills to further their professional development options for the future.”

    While results from the survey showed that students are becoming more aware of ABS, and believe that they offer more opportunities for the industry, interestingly, the survey showed a resistance amongst participants to choose to work for an ABS over a law firm, 58% (no change from the previous year) would not actively seek work with an ABS.  Despite law students’ hesitations, many will need to consider career prospects at ABS as the number of firms is set to explode over the coming years. 

    Professor Nigel Savage, President and Provost at The University of Law says: “ABS have been in operation for over a year now, and with almost 150 ABS licences having been issued since March 2012 it is clear that the law services industry is entering a new period of development. It is promising to see that students are becoming more aware of ABS, but more work needs to be done to show students that ABSs are here to stay and that they will ultimately offer an abundance of career opportunities alongside the traditional law firms for students in the coming years.”

     An ABS is a law firm that allows both lawyers and non-lawyers to share the management and control of the business, as well as allowing for external investment. ABS were introduced by the Legal Services Act 2007 and officially started to operate from March 2012. 

    For further information, please contact:

    Broadgate Mainland

    Mark Knight/ Sarah Evans Toyne/ Lianne Robinson/ Andrew Adam
    Telephone: 020 7726 6111
    E-mail: TheUniversityofLaw@broadgatemainland.com

    Lucy Wray
    PR Manager
    The University of Law
    Telephone: 01483 216072
    E-mail: lucy.wray@law.ac.uk