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Sir Nigel Knowles: The end of the legal market as we know it is nigh

Zone(s): Mostly UK ¦ Sector(s): Law
[16 June 2014, The Lawyer] Article by Sir Nigel Knowles, global co-chief executive, DLA Piper:  Prosperity is all around, but that will only lay bare fundamental problems in a sector accelerating towards its judgement day.

The wave of positive economic data that ushered in the New Year has become positively tidal as momentum and growth, now driven by increased business investment levels as well as consumption, has buoyed markets and even had commentators whispering that Bank of England governor Mark Carney will be forced to raise interest rates earlier than advertised. This now seems inevitable, even if the hike is unlikely until next year. The outlook is bright for corporate deal activity too, with IPOs continuing their upward trajectory and M&A volumes picking up significantly.

But this seemingly unstoppable march towards the sunlit uplands of sustainable growth is not reflected in the legal services market. Indeed, law firms are expected to experience a very different year to that enjoyed in the stock markets.

Change is coming soon
Last year was supposed to be one of major upheaval for the legal services industry. This did not happen in any meaningful way, but do not be fooled – it has merely been given a stay of execution.

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