Legal Business

Fragmented and naïve: the profession’s failure to penetrate Whitehall

Two pieces this month touch on a common theme: the profession’s failure to influence government. The first touches on the policy issues that have most commonly put the profession into conflict with government: the provision of legal aid, in our coverage of the unprecedented strike by publicly-funded lawyers. In the second, in our Global 100 debate, Slaughter and May’s Nigel Boardman rightly highlights the profession’s glaring lack of influence in shaping business law, while senior figures cite mounting concerns over the future of the judiciary and courts.

The UK profession’s lack of clout has long been bizarre. English law has huge influence globally both in terms of foreign businesses deploying it and choosing English lawyers and courts but also in terms of soft power. The UK is a global leader in legal services, home to the world’s second-largest legal market and a substantial contributor to exports and tax revenues.