Lawyers to be UK’s next “great export”

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Interesting to read about Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke’s speech at Clifford Chance earlier this week. It is clear the government has to get the UK exporting in order to get us all out of the current slump. UKT&I continue to do great work and now the government has launched the ‘Legal Services Action plan’ which aims to promote London as the legal capital of the world.
Clarke hailed the UK’s legal services industry as ‘world-class’ and gave an overview of initiatives the Government is taking in order to further the interests of the UK’s legal businesses.
At Kwintessential we have worked with a number of legal firms setting up shop abroad and exporting their brands over the past few years. Cultural awareness training has been provided pretty much exclusively on China, the Middle East and India identifying those as the main markets. That’s why it is interesting to see the government has targeted what they call ‘new markets’ such as South East Asia, Brazil and Turkey.
It seems the Government have woken up to the potential the sector holds at present. With a high reputation abroad, British legal firms have long been looked to for guidance by other nations keen to establish rigorous legal systems and practices. I spent a lot of time in Dubai last year speaking to local lawyers all of whom acknowledged that it is the British legal system that the local laws look towards in terms of a standard.
“Law as an industry has sometimes felt itself to be overlooked in its treatment by government – certainly relative to financial services. So I want to make it clear that for this Government, the City of London is a legal centre – not just a financial one. Contrary to popular myth, I do not wear hush puppies but I am prepared to wear out much shoe leather promoting the UK as lawyer and adviser to the world, particularly in areas where protectionist regulations remain an impediment to exporting UK services,” added Clarke.
Let’s see how this initiative goes but from appearances the sector should get a real boost from this support and can now start looking towards expansion into foreign markets.

by Neil Payne

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