This Article published by the Law Society Gazette raises an interesting point about commoditisation and bundling of legal services and the risk of over simplifying for efficacy over accuracy.
We all know about the increasing burden put upon firms by the SRA and the perceived disparity of the playing fields for new entrants over the ‘establishment’ but lets not conflate issues. These are problems and they create tremendous burdens for many but they are not within themselves the reasons for failures such as the one highlighted in this article. What I find particularly telling here is not so much the article but the nature of the comments posted beneath. I know most online authors barely deign to read the below the line comments, writing off the commenters as trolls with Tourrette’s but again, that is an oversimplification because the people commenting here are a representation of opinions I hear directly from managing partners, particularly of sub-4 partner firms, most days.
I would like to ask the question about why there appears to be a perception that to bundle and provide economy of service seems to make it difficult to manage a firm well. I have seen plenty of small firms that are able to make a profitable and compliant business, recognising that law practice is a business and like any business, there need to be effective quality controls in place. It is a self-evident truism that any time spent by a fee-earner on non fee-earning time is a cost to the top line but getting the balance right can more than make up for it on the bottom line.
Is the reason for situations like the one described in the Gazette article more to do with irresistible pressure, ineffective management or a refusal to buy in effective support? It may be something else. I would be fascinated to see what people think on this, even at risk of inviting the Tourrette’s trolls to join in!