Legal Business

The moment of truth arises – will the profession stand up to Gove?

In business as in life, if you want respect you have to start by expecting it and not putting up with its absence. Perhaps the ludicrous attempt to bully the commercial legal profession into taking on more pro bono with the threat of a levy on the UK’s largest law firms will make that point sink in.

For years the government has treated the commercial legal profession with neglect and disinterest unless it needed something, despite its status as a world-leader, major tax contributor and role in helping carry English law around the globe. Far too often the profession rolled over then queued up like a grateful child when the government wanted the great and good to pitch in for something. The policy wheeze by incoming justice secretary Michael Gove has only made explicit what has been obvious for years.