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Things can only get better, but not just yet

There may be more solicitors than ever but the number of firms will continue to decline

20 November 2013

With growing anxiety over financial distress in the legal services sector it is tempting to look at the extended indemnity period (EIP) as the new barometer of the profession's health. Halfway through the EIP, 145 firms have now entered the cessation period and can no longer take on new instructions. They are the new walking dead. Should we be so shocked?

The EIP will, in due course, act as a more effective trigger to clean up the profession of poorly managed firms where the assigned risks pool (ARP) simply delayed the painful process. It will also allocate risk more fairly. Like its predecessor the Solicitors Indemnity Fund, the ARP was still funded by the profession - albeit indirectly via higher premiums across the sector. But there has always been a low-level cull of firms around the professional indemnity renewal date. The difference is that, this time, it will come sooner, and it may go on for longer.

What is more surprising is that the num...

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