Proposals by the UK government, announced in October, will
make the £19 billion ($33 billion) England and Wales
legal sector one of the world's least restricted. The reforms
would implement recommendations made by a review led by former
Bank of England deputy David Clementi in December 2004. But the
measures contained in the white paper have gone further than
If the proposals are adopted, non-lawyers will be able to
invest in, or own, UK law firms, subject to a fit-to-operate
test. Firms will also be able to make non-lawyer employees
equity partners for the first time.
The reforms are an attempt to make the UK legal market more
competitive and the focus is primarily on the high street end
of the profession. But the reforms also recognize that the size
of business at the top end of the market, with firms generating
hundreds of millions of pounds in...