How law firms are responding to Brexit
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
To be a commercially aware candidate in 2019 means understanding how the legal profession is dealing with the opportunities and challenges of Brexit.
In the space of two years, the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU is no less ambiguous. Warnings of £80 billion holes in the budget, food shortages and capital flight dominate headlines, while government is characterised by party rifts, policy U-turns and ministerial walkouts.
The chaotic landscape isn’t an ideal one for businesses, and most have been lobbying tirelessly for a 'soft Brexit' – one that resembles the status quo as much as possible and which maintains key benefits such as passporting for financial services and a comprehensive customs agreement for goods.
A no-deal scenario not welcomed by much of the legal sector: a recent survey by Legal Week found that three-quarters of City law firm partners backed a second referendum; a study by the Law Society predicted that the UK legal sector could suffer a £3 billion hit in revenue and a loss of 12,000 jobs by 2025 in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and a report by Thomson Reuters and The Lawyer found that from a sample of more than 300 law firm partners across Europe and the UK, just 23% of those in the UK thought that a no-deal Brexit would result in a long-term increase in workload (those in Europe had a rosier view of things, with 64% predicting a long-term increase in workload).