This was the response from Hampshire Law Society based on your input
Q: Do you think the PC fees for 2020-2021 represent value for money in terms of the benefits you gain as a solicitor?
A: Although there has been increased support from the Law Society during the current crisis, overall, what other benefits do the Law Society Group offer? Whilst the President’s weekly news lists an array of activity from Chancery Lane, HILS doubts that many of its members choose to subscribe to it (even if it is available outside TLS Committee members), are aware of the activities or feel they benefit personally from it. There appears to be much in fighting between the Law Society and the SRA. HILS does not believe that the SRA offers any benefit to solicitors. The impression is that they wish to abolish the profession, opening legal services to unqualified personnel and ultimately unregulated bodies who will be able to offer legal services cheaper because they do not have to comply with burdensome regulations. It is for the Law Society to curb this trend and to maintain and promote the value of its member solicitors.
Q: Do you think the split of spending across the Law Society Group between the Law Society professional body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Legal Ombudsman, Legal Services Board, Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and Financial Conduct Authority is reasonable?
A: No. We note the proposal to make the SRA a distinct legal entity. However, it will remain under the Law Society Group umbrella and we cannot see that this achieves the purpose of an entirely separate regulator: The SRA’s activities are expanding (it’s initiatives for different ways of working being an example in point) and as they are all permitted activities, the risk is that the split in income expands in favour of the SRA, to the detriment of TLS and its members, over time. There is no reference in the consultation to the cost of shared (group) services, the cost of the proposed SRA separation and the investment, once more, in new IT. Again, we cannot see any benefit to our members in any of these things. We note the split with Leo, LSB, SDT and FCA and question what insight TLS has in to the spend anticipated as absolutely necessary by these other bodies in order to promote the split in fees set out in the consultation. Likewise, we consider that the SRA initiatives may eat into TLS reserves. This money has been raised from the profession and it is only right that it is used to support TLS members, particularly in times of need, as now. This might be the time to use the reserves to reduce or dispense with the PC fee for a period. In short, whilst we welcome in principle the stated intention to keep the PC fee at the level it has been for several years, we have serious doubts as to what TLS is offering that is of direct benefit to our members.
Q: Do you have any other comments for the Law Society Group?
A: In the current crisis please could the Law Society Group explain what steps they have taken to reduce their budget (and hence solicitors fees). Bearing in mind the lack of event and other activity since March 2020, what numbers/percentage of staff have been placed on furlough leave to save costs (and thereby the level of the PC fee)?