Yesterday at Westminster, the whole of our firm took part in the demonstration by lawyers protesting at the proposed changes and cuts in the legal aid system (Courts face week of disruption as defence solicitors work to rule, March 19). Today we will be protesting outside our local courts. During the lifetime of our firm we have faithfully represented our clients, the overwhelming majority of whom come from the most disadvantaged parts of society. In addition, we have overturned miscarriages of justice involving people who between them spent over 100 years in prison.
The proposed changes by the Legal Services Commission will result in a reduction of standards by forcing us to get rid of our qualified staff and to employ unqualified staff to carry out the work of experienced solicitors. The new rules (abolishing travel and wait at court) will prevent us from acting for our clients wherever they are arrested.
At Taylor Nichol we are uncertain as to whether we can survive the changes. We do not make a fortune, far from it, and never expected to; however, we are dedicated lawyers who we believe make a significant contribution to the criminal-justice system. The government should suspend the LSC changes and rethink what is a worsening crisis in the criminal-justice system, before a whole generation of skill and experience is lost.
Jim Nichol, Carolyn Taylor, Mark Ashford and Jamie Lake
Partners, Taylor Nichol Solicitors, London
Our legal aid system is the most generous in the world. The best-paid legal aid lawyers make around ?1m. How many nurses, teachers or doctors earn that?