Is panic gripping the legal profession ahead of new laws?

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 26 Mar 2013:

It seems to me like there’s something akin to mass hysteria gripping the nation’s personal injury solicitor firms ahead of new regulatory changes.

Case in point is one news story I stumbled upon this week detailing how nearly one out of every five personal injury firms in the North West are thinking seriously about shuttering their doors. The data comes from a research study conducted by a Liverpool law firm that specialises in providing business advice to other legal professionals, and whether or not these firms actually do end up closing is irrelevant, as there’s enough fear out there that it seems like there’s a rising panic.

It’s hard to really have much sympathy for law firms specialising in personal injury claims, considering that the new changes coming in are specifically targeted to reduce the amount of cash these firms can collect from defendants after a successful claim. No win no fee solicitors have been living the high life by collecting their success fees from their defeated opponents for decades, which in some cases can be as high – or even higher than – the personal injury compensation awarded to a successful claimant, and now that these new regulations will see lawyers have to take their success fees off the top of their client’s winnings, suddenly everyone’s up in arms about how the sky is falling.

So yes, there could be some firms that can no longer rake in the cash from compensation claims any more, but truth be told they’ve been sucking insurance companies dry for much too long. With insurers making such huge payouts, they’ve had to raise rates for the rest of us, and if you’re suddenly wondering why your car insurance premium keeps going up every year, take a good, long, hard look at your local solicitor firm: all that money’s going somewhere, isn’t it?

Meanwhile even if there are firms that are in danger of going into administration, it doesn’t meant that that’s the end of them. In fact, a recent law firm based in Merseyside – a personal injury firm in particular – was recently bought out of administration.

Duncan Gibbins Solicitors has purchased Rehab4Life Ltd, a Knowsley-based firm trading as Lindsays Solicitors. Not only that, but every single employee of Rehab4Life has been transitioned over to become an employee of Duncan Gibbins as well, meaning that no one’s been left without a job even though the firm has changed hands, so I really don’t see how lawyers can sit around complaining and panicking about how the world is going to end simply because their firm can’t soak defeated defendant for hundreds of thousands of pounds any more.

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