Monday, June 30, 2008

The Credit Crunch

In a survey accountancy firm PKF found 54% of the top law firms in Scotland were concerned with the economy. The Online Journal reports 36% of the firms surveyed were worried about staff recruitment and retention and firms dependent on the property market in Scotland are already cutting staff. In the video available here Charles Barnett, PKF professional services partner, says Scottish legal firms under financial pressure will in future have to look at multi-disciplinary practices.

Elsewhere it seems family lawyers are hit by the credit crunch. Last week Sam Hasler of Indiana Family Law said in an email the economy was very rocky over there, in this post John Bolch of Family Lore announced he was seeking new employment and today Will Cowell, partner and head of family law at Miller Sands, told me private family law practices in Cambridge were shedding staff and his firm was among the last to do so. As far as I am aware Scottish family solicitors have not been affected yet.

The north/south differences could be due to several factors. According to the Office of National Statistics in England there is a downward trend in the divorce rates whilst in Scotland the rates are still rising. In Scotland procedures and rules are such it is not possible to just read them to understand so unless there are no finances to sort out, or no children under 16, a lawyer is going to be generally required at some point. To my knowledge there is only one online service in Scotland. However in England a fair number of people represent themselves and there is a growing number of online divorce services. In fact if they catch on probably the greatest threat to Scottish family solicitors are English online divorce companies that do Scottish divorces.


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