What a pity that Alan Shatter was the author of his own misfortune. Had he not made a bags of his Ministerial portfolio and stuck to his reformist zeal we could have had a genuinely transformed legal industry. Instead the lobbyists have done their work and halted what would have been a radical departure. Not quite halted though, more like delayed. The inevitable tide is turning against the legal status quo. The labour intensity of law is in permanent decline: ditigitisation and the internet are clearing out the standard work lawyers used to do. Look what happened in the last 5 years - legal secretaries almost became extinct. Legal researchers are facing the same fate, not to mention paralegals. The legal food chain is been cannibalised from the bottom up. Law firms who think what was will be forever are in for a rude awakening. It might explain why there has been a 40% drop in law student numbers in the US in the last 5 years. No amount of lobbying can change that.

legal profession will be in place by the end of the year. However the Legal Services Regulation Bill, originally published by former minister for justice Alan Shatter nearly four years ago, is a diluted version of the original. So far there have been 235 amendments – and it will be subject to more changes before it is signed into law.

The Bill was drafted following a 2010 memorandum of understanding with the EU and the International Monetary Fund. Its aim was to introduce independent regulation and implement recommendations around transparency and competition made by the Competition Authority and the Legal Costs Working Group.