3.1     Chapter 2 considered the current system of legal services education and this chapter focuses on the legal services marketplace. The chapter surveys available information and research data about the sector that LSET serves, and how it is changing. It then considers what implications such changes might have for LSET.

3.2     The legal services sector is facing a set of challenging conditions. Richard Susskind, in his work for the research phase, suggests that the ‘next two decades will see more change than the past two centuries in the way in which lawyers and the courts function’ (2012:41).[1] The uncertainty that this signals presents a significant challenge for the provision of legal services, LSET, regulation of the professions and for this research. This chapter focuses on the most important trends, with the most wide-ranging implication for the future. The research is considerably helped by work that has been carried out for the Law Society to assist in planning the next 20 years, and this is discussed in the next section. It should be noted that many of the potential drivers of change in this environment are, at best, still emerging.

3.3     In examining trends and developments in the sector, the chapter draws both on published research, forecasts and scenarios, and on the quantitative and qualitative data from the LETR research. It begins with a brief overview of economic performance and then moves to the findings of the Law Society research which assist in providing a structure within which to examine possible change. The LSET research on workforce projection provides the final section of the chapter before conclusions are drawn.


[1] See also Espirito Santo, 2011.