The mass of law firm layoffs in the current recession, putting profits before principles, indicates that the practice of law as a profession in the modern era has become more and more a typical “business” and is less and less a noble legal profession conforming to the faulty image of professionally ethical attorneys nostalgically portrayed by the monopolistic bar associations. When push comes to shove in law firms across the nation and the world, attorney colleagues are coldly put out on to the streets to find their sustenance elsewhere under the motto that “someone else can take care of them”. Ours is a hard world which shows no quarter.
Fitting in with this trend is the UK 2007 Legal Services Act which permits investment in law firms. Private equity funds, knowing a good “business” when they see one (as opposed to a “professional” deal), are already considering investing in BigLaw starting 2011, something which is already permissible in Australia.
Lindsay Fortado at Bloomberg.com in Private Equity Considers Investing in U.K. Law Firms (Update1) reports:
“Slater & Gordon Ltd., based in Melbourne, became the world’s first law firm to sell shares on a stock exchange two years ago after a similar bill was passed in Australia. The personal-injury firm raised A$35 million ($29 million) from the listing and acquired two law firms….‘
Some law firms are understandably resisting this development, but the march of time is against them.
Hat tip to Martha Neil at the ABA Journal and
Private Equity Funds Ponder Purchase of Up to 20% Interest in UK Law Firms