‘The chairman of the Legal Services Board may be advertised this week but the appointment is unlikely until next year — nor the board members. The Office for Legal Complaints is unlikely to be empowered to handle complaints until autumn 2010. What about lawyers and (25 per cent ) non-lawyers setting up shop? According to Alison Crawley, who monitored the Legal Services Bill for the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the body that now regulates solicitors, this will not happen before spring 2009. That will enable firms to take on board existing employers who are working in their practice and to whom they want to give partnership status.
As for the full-blown “alternative business structures”, allowing lawyers to form partnerships with outside professionals or invite outside investment, that, she predicts, is unlikely to be until at least 2011 or — more likely — 2012. Meanwhile, the Bar is still consulting on whether to allow its members to become partners in law firms — and remain as practising barristers. If it does, it can hardly set its face against barristers setting up partnership with each other.’