Some law firms will undoubtedly go bust as a result of the civil justice reforms, the chief executive of the Law Society has admitted.
Des Hudson also said the civil justice reforms showed that the legal profession – and the Law Society – need to improve the way they make their case to the government and other policymakers.
Speaking at the launch of the society’s civil justice roadshows this week, Des Hudson said that on behalf of the profession, he was “angry that insurers’ advice to government seems to go unchallenged”.
He continued: “I’m angry that many solicitors who work hard for their clients are going to struggle – some firms will undoubtedly fold. But I am most angry that in all the spurious talk about fraudulent claims, many innocent victims with real, debilitating injuries will lose out. They will not get the redress they deserve; the individuals and companies at fault will have fewer incentives to correct their behaviour.”
However, he said that “anger isn’t enough. We have to learn, as a profession and as a Law Society, to explain better our role, to evidence the value we add, to our clients, to society, to justice.
“We have to redouble our efforts to engage with government and parliamentarians, and those others who influence policy.”
Mr Hudson predicted that firms were going to have to start deducting from damages to make a reasonable return for their work.
In addition to the roadshows, the Law Society will publish new and revised practice notes, while a work group is devising a new model conditional fee agreement and a model damages-based agreement, although it is not yet known whether these will be published before 1 April.