Tesco not buying into Scots law – yet?
The Legal Services (Scotland) Bill completed its parliamentary passage on 6 October 2010, including the controversial provision that will allow non-lawyer ownership of Scottish law firms to the extent of 49%.
While the Bill still has to pass the procedures required under the Scotland Act 1998 before it becomes law, its failure to do so seems most unlikely to this observer, although the possibility of challenge in the courts remains.
There remain questions, however, about whether Tesco, or even Waitrose (currently planning expansion in Scotland), are really interested in buying into the provison of legal advice to consumers in Scotland. No sign yet of bids from the supermarkets or, even worse, the unchastened banks.
Much more plausible are the rumours reaching the ears of Scots Law News that smaller Scottish firms are planning networks and link-ups, possibly even more, with which to respond to the new business environment in which they now find themselves.
That seems a more rational response, and one much more likely to succeed, than battles to the death in the last ditch of an "independent" legal profession. In the end it is what you can do for your clients that determines your business future.