Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Tuesday Review: Making a quick buck

A couple of things I spotted in the last twenty-four hours:

John Hyde in the Law Society Gazette complains about family lawyers gleefully filling the media with tales of the surge in January divorces. He has a point, although he rightly directs some of the blame at the media, who are desperate for a story at this time of year. The lawyers, of course, are only too happy to oblige:
"Getting your name out into the public domain is an expensive business, so a little free advertising dressed up as a press release is good marketing."
This is a lesson that the profession seems to have learned only too well - hardly a week seems to go by without me coming across some piece of thinly-veiled advertising from a law firm passing itself off as a press release. Anyway, back to the story, Mr Hyde fears that by jumping on the 'Divorce-Day' bandwagon lawyers are re-enforcing the public image of the profession "as blood-sucking leeches, revelling in human misery and plumbing the depths of family breakdown to make a quick buck." Food for thought before your next engagement with the media.

Also in the legal press Legal Futures reports upon what seems to be another unintended consequence of the abolition of legal aid: the growth of ‘professional’ McKenzie Friends, who charge litigants in person for their services. The issue is being investigated by the Legal Services Consumer Panel, with suggested policy responses including outlawing charging a fee for McKenzie Friend services, creating a blacklist or developing a self-regulatory solution. Meanwhile many LiPs will run the gauntlet of  paying for unregulated legal services - particularly ironic when one considers the level of regulation that the legal profession is subjected to these days.

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