Non-lawyers will be allowed to own law firms from October 6, 2011, the Legal Services Board announced today. The super-regulator announced that so-called alternative business structures will be able to apply for licences in the summer of next year, allowing corporations to provide legal services to the public from the first week of October.
David Edmonds, chairman of the Legal Services Board, said:
Today’s announcement is a significant milestone. It gives certainty to the approved regulators [such as the Law Society and the Bar Council], the firms they regulate and to potential new entrants alike. Moreover, it paves the way for real benefits to be delivered to consumers on the fastest possible timetable.
It also marks the end of law as a self-regulating profession.