Articles

Fragility in professional services

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Fifty years ago society’s reverence for the professional classes was almost a given, but those days are gone. Restrictive practices and a reluctance to accept reform have contributed to a loss of public trust and respect. Lawyers and doctors don’t stand on the pedestal they once did. When companies such as BHS and Carillion go down, for example, blame is often placed on accountants – professional accreditations notwithstanding.

That professions have moved with the times is not in any doubt, however, in their embrace of the market (along with its often high rewards), have the professions now opened themselves to criticism previously levelled at mere business people?

Made in association with Stifel, this podcast by Matthew Gwyther of Jericho Chambers is the latest in series of pieces on The Future of the Professions. The 30 minute programme looks particularly at the role of top law firms who are currently riding the crest of a Magic Circle fee-wave and margins that mere mortals can only dream of. But is this overt success hiding a real fragility?

The half-hour audio documentary features interviews with Professor Laura Empson of Cass Business School, Paul Morrell, the ex-HMG building czar, John Gapper, Chief Business Commentator from the Financial Times, Nigel Jones ex-Linklaters and now Chair of the City Mental Health Alliance, and Gareth Hunt from the investment bank Stifel who is a hawk-eyed observer of the UK’s legal firms.

The podcast examines:

* The collegial glue of the partnership model – and its cohesive power today

* The war for top talent among lawyers

* The commoditisation of entry positions, and the financial implications of automation and AI

* Working in the public interest and what it means to be a professional in 2018

 

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