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Racing to beat the accountants

Law firms need to prove their worth to the small business sector before the competition gobbles up the market, writes Mark Stobbs

10 May 2016

A lot of attention has been given to the legal needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of late. Research by the Legal Services Board (LSB) was cited as a reason for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) review of the legal services market. At a recent Law Society risk and compliance conference, the Solicitors Regulation Authority's (SRA) Paul Philip was quoted as suggesting that abolishing the separate business rule might assist the development of multi-disciplinary practices (MDPs), which would assist
the development of legal advice to SMEs.

The CMA spun the research to suggest lawyers are unfriendly and that there is something wrong with the market. It noted that only 13 per cent of SMEs thought lawyers were cost-effective and around half agreed that lawyers were a last resort in resolving legal problems. A number of firms will have been surprised at this. They'll tell you of excellent relati...

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