We have received expressions of concern from a number of solicitors regarding the prospect of Altnerative Business Structures in Scotland. In particular, the Dean of one local faculty has expressed serious concern and requested that a meeting be convened in order to enable a full discussion to take place. However, if such a meeting is to have any influence on the forthcoming AGM of the Law Society or upon the AGM of our own Society, then time is short. I have therefore convened a meeting to take place at 5.30pm on Tuesday 17th March 2009 at the Royal Faculty of Procurators at Nelson Mandela Place, Glasgow.
The main cause of concern is, of course, the Scottish government consultation paper which was issued earlier this year and anyone coming to this meeting should read that document in full beforehand. It can be found on the Internet at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/12/29155017/0. THERE IS AN ABBREVIATED VERSION OF THESE PROPOSALS AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE ON THIS PAGE - SEE THE NEWS ITEM DATED 13TH MARCH 2009. This paper proposes, among other things, to authorise the setting up of firms of mixed disciplines e.g. solicitors and accountants, surveyors etc and also the external funding and external ownership of law practices. These proposals are offered on the basis that they promise greater choice and reduced costs for consumers. Of course, these changes were first envisaged before the onset of the credit crunch and the apparent demise of the private banking industry following broadly similar structural reorganisation in that industry. It might well be that the wisdom of re-structuring should now be carefully re-considered in the light of these events. We hope to address these issues usefully in the March edition of our Society's Gazette.
In the meantime, any solicitor who is unable to attend this meeting but would like to have their views conveyed to the meeting may do so by sending an email statement of their views to firstname.lastname@example.org. At the same time, it would be helpful if anyone coming to meeting would email their intention to do so beforehand.