I see that the Gazette this week has picked up on the crisis facing many high street firms, a story I posted about a month ago. Their report talks of "a significant number" of firms being forced to shed staff due to a drop in fee income levels. Examples mentioned include a London practice letting go of nine of its 13-strong conveyancing team, another closing two of its four offices and an East Anglian firm reducing its opening hours to four days a week. There is talk of one firm "desperately trying to merge with another" and, indicating the country-wide scale of the problem, an Exeter-based management consultant stating that "‘waves of firms’ in the provinces were laying off people and many practices were up for sale".
Meanwhile, how is the Law Society responding to the crisis? Deputy Vice-President Paul Marsh is quoted as saying that "many high street firms were ‘healthy’, but some would always struggle from time to time, particularly with the impact of referral fees". Sticking his head in the sand, or trying to avert a panic?