From court fee hikes to a mooted City law tax to legal aid cuts, the profession’s relationship with government is at a low ebb. With the Law Society’s fundraising powers under threat, is it time for a new trade union?
It was the most contentious attack on City lawyers in recent memory. A proposal by incoming justice secretary Michael Gove to tax top law firms to fund the criminal courts acted as a rallying cry to the usually placid commercial profession. But it wasn’t the Law Society, which receives £35m a year to represent the profession in England and Wales, leading the fight. Opposition was mounted by the firms themselves and a tiny body operating on nearly a hundredth of the Law Society’s budget.