It is interesting that one of the reasons given by some states for not opting in, or, for initially opting in and then out of, a national legal profession is due to the sole practitioners within their states. The Queensland Attorney estimated that the 85 per cent of sole practitioners in Queensland would incur extra costs as a result of the additional bureaucracy around a national scheme with no derivable benefit from the reform. The concern that centralisation in favour of large international and national firms was expressed by Tasmania as a reason for its decision not to proceed with the national law. NSW and Victoria represent approximately 70 per cent of Australia’s practising solicitors with 81.5 per cent of the private profession nationally being sole practitioners. If the argument that a national law will mean an increase in costs for lawyers without a corresponding benefit for sole practitioners is valid, its begs the questions whether a national profession consisting of two states is a positive move for the majority of NSW and Victorian practitioners?
MAXINE EVERS teaches law at the University of Technology Sydney.