News

No-deal Brexit could cost legal sector £3 billion, Law Society warns

By on
30

Chancery Lane’s number crunchers paint a bleak picture

A no-deal Brexit could cost the legal sector up to £3 billion by 2025, the Law Society of England and Wales has warned.

The economic forecasts released by Chancery Lane’s number crunchers predict annual legal sector growth of 2.3% between 2019 to 2025 under a soft Brexit scenario. However, this drops to just 1.5% over the same period under hard Brexit conditions such as a Canada-style free trade agreement. If the UK had to fall back on the World Trade Organisation rules — more commonly known as a no-deal scenario — growth would slump to just 1.1% and could see up to £3 billion stripped from legal sector turnover, according to the Society’s crystal ball.

The predictions, developed in collaboration with Thomson Reuters, are based on macroeconomic forecasts from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the IMF’S World Economic Outlook, alongside data from the Office of National Statistics.

Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said: “UK legal services look to have been relatively buoyant through 2017-18, thanks to a combination of Brexit-related work, steady demand from UK businesses and an uptick in business from non-UK clients taking advantage of the depreciation of the pound.”

The 2018 Firms Most List

Blacklaws continued:

“However, Brexit is likely to have a significant negative effect on the legal sector in the medium and longer term. This is largely due to the knock-on impact of Brexit on the wider economy as demand for legal services relies on the success of other sectors of the UK economy.”

To make matters worse, Law Society forecasts estimate that under a Canada-type free trade agreement employment in the UK legal services sector could be 4,000-5,000 less than it would be under a soft Brexit scenario by 2025. This could jump to 8,000-10,000 under no-deal conditions.

Commenting on the employment figures, Blacklaws added:

“Shifts in employment are less certain than other figures in our forecast due to the range of Brexit scenarios and the effects of these on productivity. However, the law of England and Wales underpins a vast number of global transactions and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Our laws and jurisdiction are renowned the world over for their relative certainty, our expert judiciary and the professional competence and independence of both judges and practitioners.”

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub

30 Comments

Anonymous

Oh hi there Project Fear! No we won’t be needing your services today.

(26)(29)

Anonymous

Always weird how many Brexiteers there are on a student legal website. Are they Jacob Rees-Mogg’s six children posting in turn, or angry middle aged men with pensions secured and not a lot to do before retirement?

(34)(7)

Anonymous

LS: On how many levels on guessing into the future are you on

Nostradamus: a 160pp book

LS: you’re like a little baby, watch this

(14)(2)

Wallace Willy

“To make matters worse, Law Society forecasts estimate that under a Canada-type free trade agreement employment in the UK legal services sector could be 4,000-5,000 less than it would be under a soft Brexit scenario by 2025. This could jump to 8,000-10,000 under no-deal conditions.”

4,000-5,000 / 8000/10,000 less/worse off by what measurement? Chocolate buttons?

(14)(3)

Anonymous

No you idiot.

Obviously in the standard measurement of legal services: chocolate digestives.

(13)(0)

Anonymous

Lawyers were never great at maths so not surprised by this

(5)(1)

Anonymous

£3bn – isn’t that the NQ salary at White & Case? Or was it Slaughters?

(23)(0)

Anonymous

What is the desired outcome though? A legal sector that thrives at the expense of the rest of the country?

(5)(1)

Anonymous

See Mr. I. Ronik, ante.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

You can’t.

His comment was deleted without trace because, even though the name suggested it was ironic and was poking fun at Brexiteers, it contained the phrase “You can now be mean to foreigners”.

Too satirical for this sanitised organ.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

“… annual legal sector growth of 2.3% between 2019 to 2025 under a soft Brexit scenario. However, this drops to just 1.5% over the same period under hard Brexit conditions…”

PLEASE LEARN THE BLOODY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEGATIVE GROWTH AND LESS POSITIVE GROWTH – THE LEGAL PROFESSION WON’T BE “WORSE OFF”, IT WILL JUST GROW SLOWER, AND THERE IS NO ADDITIONAL £3BN COSTS TO PAY, ITS MONEY THAT THE SECTOR WILL NEVER SEE. JUST STOP ABUSING STATISTICS YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND YOU FUCKS.

Fucking hell. This website has reached Daily Mail levels of utter shite, the whole fucking thing needs to get in the bin.

(26)(15)

Anonymous

You can be worse off than you would otherwise be, without being worse off than now…

(15)(1)

Anonymous

You are right, but a lower rate of growth is also very very bad. These figures suggest that the legal sector could undergo relative decline in the next decade.

The opportunity cost (loss of business and $) is enormous – lawyers don’t seem to understand much economic theory!

(2)(2)

Anonymous

*Chuckles* I’d worry more about how we’re going to eat with a no-deal brexit. You can’t eat money.

Watch the swaggering brexiteer bird-brains start panicking when the supermarket shelves start to rapidly empty and the disorder begins. That’s what happens when you play games with the fragile and complex ‘just in time’ food supply chain that we currently take for granted.

(6)(9)

Anonymous

Hysterical nonsense.

(9)(5)

Anonymous

Oh, so you know all about the EU ‘just in time’ (JIT) food chain, which carefully whirrs away, keeping us supplied with over a quarter of our food?

Let’s have your careful, factual, referenced and properly reasoned argument as to how this supply chain will withstand the shock of a no deal brexit and how no chaos will ensue. Good luck.

(6)(6)

Not Amused

This really is a very good demonstration of how you’ve let your fear consume you.

If there is no ‘deal’ then what that means is there is no ‘deal’ to not impose tariffs. A nation only pays tariffs on products it exports. The UK will not impose tariffs on food imports from the EU – why would we? So nothing will change regarding imported EU food.

You are effectively suggesting that the EU won’t sell food to us just because we’re leaving. I don’t see how you can rationally hold this belief. Moreover if they did refuse to sell us their food then I think the condemnation is on them – not on us. Which is why these arguments were always so unsuccessful during the referendum, they effectively amount to saying “you must stay in the EU or it will hurt us”, the counter is pretty obvious “why stay in a union with people like that?”.

However there is also a global market in food. Every single year there are changes to supply for all types of produce. When EU supplies falter, we simply go t other countries and buy from them. So even in the extremely odd world which you seem to believe exists, where EU farmers say “non, I would rather go bankrupt than sell my food tariff free to the UK like I have done for 40 years, I will leave it to rot in my warehouse”, we can get replacement food abroad. We do this every single year with vulnerable crops like salad vegetables and soft fruits – because that’s what happens in farming, you get bad harvests.

Moreover being outside CAP and the customs union means we don’t have to put EU tariffs (which are quite high) on this food we get from other places. So we can both source our food easily and get it cheaper. That will also help other nations which are currently the poorest on earth, yet who produce some of the highest quality produce on the planet (because they don’t use the cheap short cuts that western farmers need to use in order to cut costs and stay competitive).

There has been a colossal level of cognitive dissonance by supposedly intelligent middle class people over the EU. But let me be very clear – if you ever bought a Fair Trade banana, yet supported the EU, then you are a living paradox.

(11)(7)

Anonymous

1. Tariffs aren’t the issue relating to delay at customs (also food standards).
2. The government has certainly not said that it won’t seek tariffs on food, so I’m not sure why you think this is a certainty.
3. All the Brexit white paper says about trade involving food is that we will seek to agree a ‘common rulebook’ in relation to food standards.

Not Amused

There won’t be an issue with non-tariff barriers for food, because there never has been before. There was quite a big problem with salad vegetables last year. You can google the Great 2017 Lettuce Shortage if you would like (although many other vegetables were also impacted).

The reason no one noticed was because UK shops just sourced our lettuce from non-EU sources instead.

Those non-EU sources were all subject to the same import regime we will use for the EU after Brexit. We use that customs arrangement now and there were no delays. No one imagined they would suddenly need lots of import licenses for lettuce. There were still no delays. The lettuce was fine – I promise. We have had refrigeration for some time now.

Similarly you don’t need a UK government to publicly declare that it isn’t going to put a tariff (a tax) on everyone’s food. It is simply the realm of perverse fantasy to imagine that any government would do so. You may as well complain that the government hasn’t publicly declared it won’t murder us in our beds.

For two years we have had a mania of anxiety over completely random subjects, all of it nonsense. But the fact is, Brexit just is not going to be as exciting as some people like to pretend it is.

This all has to stop, it is exhausting to live in the state of perpetual terror.

The thing Remain voters need to focus on is that the Chequers plan is appalling for the UK and that no sane Remain voter (and I know many) would have ever proposed it. Sensible Remain voters often held their nose and voted with the PM for a reformed EU – or for future reform. From the position of supplicant state we can control no such reform.

Anonymous

I take it you haven’t heard of the European Charter of Human Rights, which guarantees a right to life. Given that the UK is committed to this, we don’t need a public declaration on the lines you suggest. If we were to exit from the ECHR, even the government accepts it would have to give a statement of basic rights in its place (see the now-forgotten proposed ‘British Bill of Rights’)

You might expect the government to “publicly declare” its position on tariffs given that it has published a fairly detailed White Paper on what it thinks should happen after Brexit. Surely the last couple of years of failing negotiations have demonstrated that it’s all a bit more complicated than tariffs being so obviously necessary or not that we don’t even need to discuss them.

Not Amused

It’s been nearly 3 years (if you include the campaign). That is 3 years in which allegedly intelligent people have had only three tactics for persuading the nation to do as they want:

1. Make up bogus predictions by ensuring our assumptions produce a negative outcome;
2. Call anyone who disagrees with you a stupid racist;
3 Repeat the above.

I have waited very patiently for an argument that is actually pro the EU. I have not seen one. I can only assume there is not one.

In the 20th Century we survived the Spanish Flu, two devastating wars and numerous devastating economic collapses. It is time that the people who are hysterical about the plebs daring to demand we renegotiate our trade deal with our neighbours stopped prophesying doom (we’re not listening) and started getting help – you sound ill.

It can’t be fun being like this.

(30)(14)

Anonymous

Err and yet your best argument in favour of Brexit is that it’s not as bad as the Battle of the Somme or 3% of the world’s population dying of Spanish flu?

(18)(2)

Anonymous

Also just calling the predictions above ‘bogus’ doesn’t make it true. I have no idea whether or not this research is accurate. But at least these particular nay-sayers have bothered to do some research and make an argument in favour of their position. If you want to argue against that, fine, but that is not what you have done. You haven’t actually engaged with any of the paper’s content, you have just insinuated that its authors are in fact idiots who make false allegations of racism and ironically accused them of not making any positive argument, when in fact they have published an entire paper in support of their views. A lazy ad hominem against (apparently) everyone who did not vote Leave isn’t exactly raising the level of debate.

(11)(1)

Not Amused

The people replying have misunderstood my intention. I’m not looking for a fight.

Many people I adore are suffering this mania and by writing my comment, I’m hoping only to be like a tough-love grandmother gently chiding people away from their destructive path.

The predictions of endless doom have gone on too long. If you keep believing them then they will make you ill – of course it will, if you believed the world was going to end then you will, by definition, not act rationally. The world is fine. Stop doing this – for everybody.

(7)(7)

Anonymous

Ohhh I see. You meant that all remainers are idiots who baselessly accuse others of racism in a positive, non-argumentative way…

Anonymous

My grandmother doesn’t randomly accuse the authors of research documents of being politically motivated and part of a grand conspiracy. You still haven’t set out why you think the above research is “bogus”. (The fact that its conclusions don’t support your political worldview is not a good argument.)

Anonymous

The only difference between Brexit and those disasters is that Brexit was self-inflected!!

Your argumet:

1. We have survived pandemics amd world wars

2. I voted for something as dangerous as a pandemic or coldd war

3. We will survive this time too

~you’re accepting Brexit is disaaster. One that you voted for

(12)(4)

Anonymous

I notice he also upvoted his own comment 22 times (Not Amused, dear, it’s always obvious when the number of upvotes on one comment is vastly out of sync with those on most of the other comments on the page.)

(4)(2)

Frequently Amused

Not Amused is a fucking idiot. No more needs be said.

(4)(2)

fragile supply chain bollox

dont need to waste my time presenting a detailed reasoned answer on this to you. so the price of food goes up. who cares?

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

Related Stories