The new Law Society president has urged independent law firms in the Midlands to capitalise on business and professional opportunities, even in what she said were difficult times.
Lucy Scott-Moncrieff was speaking during a visit to the region at a round table forum for independent law firms at the Solihull office of Williamson & Soden.
“Even in times of very slow growth or recession, businesses can find opportunities to succeed and lawyers should be no different,” said Ms Scott-Moncrieff.
“Challenging trading conditions for clients for example can mean that smaller legal firms can adapt their services rapidly to support those clients through the difficult times. There are also opportunities for lawyers to innovate in terms of ownership structures.”
Lawyers discussed a variety of issues at the forum, including the regulatory framework which some said weighed heavily on small firms with limited office back up.
But there was also a positive note to the discussions.
Ian Williamson, senior partner at Williamson & Soden, said: “There is a fair amount of consolidation going on in the legal profession through mergers and takeovers and some might see this as a threat.
“But we see such pressures as an incentive to stay focused and competitive and I believe that there is no reason why a firm such as ours can’t continue to pursue a strategy of staying independent.
“Firms of our size can use their broad spectrum of established client connections, resources and a concentration on innovation to adapt our services to a period of recession or slow growth.”
He added: “There are services where can help clients substantially in troubled times. We are not the only firm in our region to look at things this way and such an approach can help the legal profession make a real contribution to the regional economy.”
Mr Williamson also said Williamson & Soden had “bucked the trend” by retaining its dual focus on private client and business law and maintaining a criminal law defence capability.
“We believe that it can only help if some firms can offer specialist services without disrupting existing lawyer-client relationships” he said.