A LAW UNTO THEMSELVES

Richard Finan, Director of Arc Legal Assistance, took part in a discussion on how the Legal Services Act could redefine the way in which legal expenses operate.

He was joined by representatives from Vizards Wyeth, Allianz Legal Protection and LAMP Services.

The following extracts are from Richard's contribution to the discussion:

Is there any particular sector that will benefit most from the Legal Services Act?

"I don't believe that any one particular sector will benefit more than another - obviously, retailers, insurers, financial institutions and legal firms are all included in this."

People assume that there will be a commoditisation of products as a result of the Act. Is this a positive development?

"It is positive, as commoditisation is enabled by efficiency and, therefore, creation of larger, high-volume practices."

"There are significant cost benefits to bringing legal services in-house, but what will be interesting to see is whether the profit that is taken out of the acquired law firm is used to reduce the net underwriting premium, or whether it is used to bolster the profits of the buying company."

Are high-street solicitors the big losers in this?

"No, because it will be remote delivery and there will be access via call centres and websites."

What will happen to referral fees?

"Presumably, if you have an in-house law firm you wouldn't need it."

A full report of the Power Hour is available on the Insurance Age website (www.insuranceage.com)

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