On Thursday 13 July 2006, Lord Carter released his final report on legal aid procurement. Basically, it says lawyers won't be compensated on an hourly basis, but rather fee for work. Not much is new there.
The real trick is to combine this with what is happening with the Clementi Review on the regulation and organisation of legal services. Most lawyers don't know what this really means.
All together legal services are about to be thrown open to a wider market. Why is it special that lawyers should be the only ones to deliver legal services? Conveyancing and probate for a long time have been done by clerks or secretaries.
To put it at its most blunt--unless lawyers start thinking radically about how they do law, they are going to lose out to (a) supermarkets [Tesco law] or (b) be taken over or forced out of markets by companies that think they can do it better [banks, insurance companies, claims agents].
At present, they think they still have something special to sell. I, however, don't know what it is.