The impact of Brexit on the legal sector
In a series of blogs, Mitchell Charlesworth partner, Mike Buxton, looks at some of the key challenges faced by the legal sector over the next 12 to 18 months, specifically Brexit, technology, competition and succession planning.
Brexit has been looming over us for almost 3 years now and latest reports say that a no deal could cut the UK’s growth by half. That will inevitably have an impact on almost all businesses, including those in the legal sector.
There is a large risk of economic downturn once we move into the Brexit negotiation phase, but I am already aware of a number of companies that are putting their business growth strategies on hold due to Brexit, whether this be investing in new premises, acquiring new businesses or agreeing new supply contracts. Without doubt, this must already be impacting on the professionals dealing with these transactions such as law firms and, in turn, the fees generated from completing this work.
Brexit is such a moving feast that it has been difficult for businesses across all sectors to navigate and predict the new landscape and uncertainty remains a key issue at present.
Brexit will bring the biggest ever change to the UK’s legal framework, and it presents both opportunities and risks for the legal sector. Potential changes to legislation may mean that some areas of law are completely transformed, for example, employment, competition and intellectual property law are closely linked to that of the EU. Lawyers active in areas like trade, foreign investment, property and finance will also be affected. It is also unclear whether UK trained lawyers can still work in the EU and vice versa, following Brexit.
While it is difficult to prepare for the unknown, law firms need to be nimble enough to react to any impact and then be ready to exploit any opportunities that come their way. Once we begin to see adjustments to the laws and regulations affecting businesses, lawyers’ skills and knowledge will be in demand as business owners seek their advice on the changes.