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Editor's blog | Lawyer eat lawyer

The threat to small firms isn't coming from alternative business structures, but behemoth law firms, says Jean-Yves Gilg

10 May 2013

Personal injury lawyers started reviewing their involvement in the sector within days of Lord Justice Jackson first unveiling his plans to curb the cost of litigation four years ago. Now mostly in place, the Jackson reforms, combined with the emergence of alternative business structures, are jeopardising the survival of countless traditional high street practices unprepared for the new environment. But the threat is not coming from supermarkets, as originally feared, or claims management companies. The predators with their eyes on the legal services market are other, larger law firms, with strong financial backing and commercial structures tuned to sustain thinner margins.

As smaller firms look for exit strategies out of the personal injury market, the field is opening up for these bigger players. So far the charge has been led most visibly by Australia's Slater & Gordon. The stock exchange listed firm has made no secret of its ambition to become a major operat...

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