2020 has been challenging for people who need legal services and for some parts of the profession. The Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened our resolve to work with others to reshape legal services to better meet the needs of society. This blog outlines some of the projects we have collaborated with others on this year to help build a market that delivers fairer outcomes, stronger confidence and better services.
Working together to address unmet legal need
Earlier this year we published a report on legal capability and launched it at a stakeholder event with speakers from Legal Beagles, the Bingham Centre and Just for Kids Law. We discussed the fact that too many people who could benefit from using legal services do not currently do so.
Lowering unmet legal need is one of the key challenges that we will continue to work with others to address.
Gathering views on technology and innovation
In April, we published a collection of articles on legal technology by 11 individuals and organisations, including a judge, a national barristers’ chambers, tech firms and regulators.
The Perspectives on Lawtech and Regulation papers show how different parts of the legal services sector perceive technological innovation and how, in their view, technology may improve access to justice.
Some of the contributors also took part in our Talking Tech podcast series. In one episode, Dr Adam Wyner from Swansea University considers the challenges presented by legal technology. In another, Professor Lisa Webley from Birmingham Law School discusses the latest technological developments in legal services and how they may affect the current practice of law.
We are continuing to draw on these and other insights to inform our approach to innovation and assist the regulators to respond effectively to LawTech
Collaborating on ongoing competence
This year, we opened a debate on professional competence in the legal services sector. We want to understand and build consensus around what works well and explore whether existing frameworks meet public expectations and protect people from harm.
We engaged with people and organisations within and beyond the profession, and as part of our call for evidence, we met with over 50 stakeholders. We will share our findings in the New Year and continue to work with others to develop our approach.
Engaging the public in our work
In the summer, over 40 members of the public from across England and Wales discussed the key areas that should be addressed to widen access to legal services and maintain high standards. Their views informed our State of Legal Services 2020 report. The participants said that the LSB should focus more on lawyers’ competence, public legal education and access to justice for those on low and middle incomes. The findings are summarised in a report, an infographic, and a video.
Working together to reshape legal services
In November, we published an in-depth review of the legal services sector following ten years of independent regulation. Our State of Legal Services 2020 report is informed by data, evidence and conversations with a wide range of individuals and organisations. It found that although a lot has been achieved in the last decade, the basic legal needs of many citizens are not being met.
To address the challenges, in December, we launched a consultation on our new draft strategy and draft business plan for the legal services sector. We look forward to working with organisations both inside and outside the profession to create a legal services market that benefits everyone.