In case you needed reminding, change in the legal world continues apace. Next step on the way will be CILEx regulated ABS's, meaning that there will be a genuine choice of regulator for legal businesses. Equally, the legal professions are no longer segregated, so the formational differences between barrister, solicitor or legal executive may increasingly seem as irrelevant outside the professions as the difference between surgeons and physicians is to patients.
There is an implied existential problem for the legal professions here. Is it either efficient or in the public interest to have separate and potentially competing routes into qualification? Is a single path to regulated professional status (perhaps using the generic title "qualified lawyer") the way forward, with CILEx, the Law Society and the Bar acting rather like the medical colleges in guaranteeing the standards of specialist training in specific areas?
Of course it has been semi-traditional in legal practice over the years to predict a fused profession in the imminent future. That future however only allowed of a world where solicitors and barristers became one profession. The reality of the current marketplace suggests that the real need for fusion is between legal executives and solicitors, whose scope of activity and practice rights are starting to look increasingly similar.
Alan Kershaw, chair of CILEx Regulation said: “These developments create the new environment where anyone wishing to start out on a legal career can now do that, from professional cradle to grave, through the CILEx route. “They can do so knowing that the end point could be not fellowship in itself, not the opportunity to progress to another title altogether, but the right to practise the law, in any area where they can show competence, not as someone’s employee but in their own name, and, if they wish, in the name of their own business.”