Slightly concerned by Jack Straw’s comments to the LSE about legal aid. While his efforts to get value for the taxpayer’s money are laudable as ever, and while it is true that “There is certainly nothing ordained by the Almighty which says that of those paid for by the public purse, lawyers should be any higher than in other professions”, how exactly is this going to have any other result than lawyers doing less legal aid work?
Straw said “Lawyers and law firms who are dependent on state funding – and I emphasise dependent, as there are many whose existence relies exclusively on the public purse – would be wise to reconsider expectations of earnings.” Am I missing something, or is it very likely that they will do this by reducing their dependence on state funding, i.e. taking on more privately funded work, and thus having less time to devote to legal aid cases? No matter how many new lawyers we produce, the wider the gap grows between the pay one can expect for legal aid work and that for privately funded work, the less legal aid help will, surely, be available.