Lawyers are a proud bunch, so bad press for the profession doesn't sit well, especially when the headlines make solicitors read like banks selling dodgy payment protection insurance.
July has been the month where reports on the personal injury sector have challenged reputations. First we had the Actuarial Profession taking time off from its bean-counting duties to produce a tailor-made headline for the Daily Mail. According to the number crunchers, accident numbers are falling, while bodily injury claims are on the rise. Interestingly, Datamonitor analyst Alex Fitzpatrick tweetedindependently last week that loss ratios (ie how much is being paid out in claims as a proportion of revenue) could be falling as much as 12.7% at the top 10 motor insurers, so there's clearly more to this story than the Actuaries have been telling us.
Next in line was the Legal Ombudsman Adam Samson who revealed how legal expenses insurance policies were frequently misunderstood by consumers and that the market risked dragging its reputation down to the level of financial services. "We've seen the damage done to the reputation of the financial sector by the mis-selling of complicated products," he explained to practically every publication available. "The PPI scandal has cost the banking industry billions of pounds."It would be disastrous if the legal sector exposed itself to a similar risk."
Of course, the daily grind of civil justice reform has kept the personal injury profession so busy over the last few years, that most organisations have been focused on the shape of things to come. This month, Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly announced further thoughts on the plans for Qualified One-way Costs Shifting, saying that claimants would be treated the same, regardless of their financial means. His proposals met with a tirade of questions from Law Society Gazette readers, with the general themes appearing to be confusion, anger and resignation.