Government urged to unleash the economic power of legal services

The government must invest to unleash the power of legal services to boost the economy across the UK, solicitors’ leaders have said.

The Law Society of England and Wales has submitted representations to HM Treasury ahead of the Autumn Statement on 22 November.*

“Legal services are an economic powerhouse, worth £60bn annually to the UK economy, said Law Society president Nick Emmerson.

“A strong legal services sector underpins a strong economy across the board.

“As employers, law firms can be found in every region, city and town across England and Wales. Growing legal hubs can be found from Bristol to Newcastle, spreading the benefits of the sector throughout the UK.

“However, the sector faces challenges too. The Law Society recently commissioned research which has highlighted the barriers small and medium legal businesses (SMEs) are facing including recruitment and retention and operational and financial costs.

“The package of reforms we are calling for are designed to build on the existing economic strengths of our profession while unleashing the latent productivity and economic potential of the sizeable SME segment of the legal services sector, all at minimal cost to the government.”

We are encouraging government to:

    • remove the investment penalty and extend full expensing to legal partnerships**

    • broaden the National Skills Fund to provide retraining for employees in the legal sector

    • boost support for legal businesses, especially SMEs, to take on apprentices

    • create a grant scheme to support small and medium-sized law firms with the costs of adopting productivity boosting LawTech, modelled on Singapore’s Tech-celerate for Law scheme

    • expand the Cyber Essentials Programme so more legal SME firms can access the support it provides

    • enable SMEs that committed to high fixed energy rates in 2022 to reevaluate their agreements through a ‘blend and extend’ approach

“By implementing the changes and policies outlined in our submission, legal services, from the high street legal practice to the global law firm, can rapidly be unleashed to help drive innovation and widespread economic growth across all our communities,” concluded Nick Emmerson.

Notes to editors

• * Contact the Press Office for a copy of our full submission.

• ** Large parts of the legal services sector are being held back from investing as they cannot take advantage of full expensing due to the scheme’s design. This has created an investment penalty which has meant that one of the most ambitious tax announcements in the Spring Budget is inaccessible to large numbers of the UK’s most valuable businesses.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Nick Mayo | 020 8049 4100

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