Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Sword of Damocles

In recent posts I have been rather critical of RTA/PI solicitors in general for what I have seen as a "burying the heads in the sand" approach to the forthcoming changes in their industry, changes which if fully implemented as proposed by the government/insurance lobby will potentially prove fatal to the arm of law that I grew up with in the legal profession from as long ago as 1984.

I have recently met up with some friends and former colleagues who are running their own PI practices in different parts of their country and have spent many hours over the past few weeks discussing life at the coal face. I was struck by their stoicism, phlegmatism and realism. The overall message that I received was that they were carrying on as normal because, as one solicitor said to me, "What else can we do? Until we are told in definitive terms what the new landscape will look like and when that landscape will be repainted, how can we make firm decisions to do anything other than what we are doing?"

What they are doing is continuing to work very hard indeed to run their firms, to provide a good service to their clients, to try and maintain a steady influx of work,  to provide employment and a decent working environment for their employees, whilst at the same time ensuring that they are filtering out any potential fraudulent claims and coping with ever increasing and burdensome regulation and red tape. They are too busy getting on with running their businesses to spend time worrying about proposed future changes to their industry that have been either so long in the "proposal" stages or in other cases have just been suddenly plucked out of thin air, with still no definitive shape or form to them and still with no dates in sight as to when these proposals will emerge from their embryonic state, other than to hear that the government expects to implement them by April 2013. It is like watching an egg slowly starting to hatch and not knowing what being will eventually emerge from it.

As one Senior Partner put it to me; "We must be the only industry with other people dictating to us how to run our businesses (including what price to sell our services for) and having the sword of Damocles hovering constantly overhead!"