Lewis Hulatt, Consultant Solicitor based in Surrey, of Major Family Law, divorce and children law specialists, comments:

We have been giving our garden a bit of a re-vamp, so saving me going to the gym.   A rockery does not spontaneously appear and rocks, even chipped ones, do not carry themselves, so apparently it was ‘good for me’.   I also had to help dig a trench for a cable, so I furthered my apprenticeship in manliness, using a jack-hammer to dig concrete last week.

We also needed to re-organise the garage and part of that involved a filing cabinet which has not been unlocked for a decade and for which the key cannot be found.   Finally accepting defeat on key-location, I prised the lock, flicked the internal mechanism with a screwdriver and the cabinet was open.  ‘Geezer points’ in the bag marked ‘swag’.

Amongst my hoarding within were the Best Practice course run by the Law Society for newly admitted solicitors in the 1980s, paperwork from setting up a community mediation service back in the 90s, and memorabilia throughout my career.   What I was most pleased to discover was a lone copy of “The Litigator” from 1995 which contained my predictions as to the future of legal practice.  Re-reading my somewhat irreverent prognostication in the Nottingham Law School/Law Society Gazette ‘Litigation 2000’ legal writing competition, I found very little that had not come to pass in what is now 21 years.

Essentially, it predicted restricted access to justice, online legal advice generated by fallible knowledge programs, exploitation of part-qualified lawyers, complaints-handling resourcing prioritised over service delivery, open competitive tendering and Citizens’ Advice Bureaux losing funding. “Qualifieds giving free at point of delivery advice” was a shocking idea for the wannabe lawyer serving unpaid in a LawShop who operated the (pre-internet) faxed-advice machine.

I predicted those controlling availability of legal services would aim to replace people with systems because they ‘know the price of everything and the value of nothing’. Wilde got there before me.

Somebody wisely told me that a good solicitor does not know everything, but they know where to look. Now law is on-line, it is all about how we use it.   A senior lecturer at Surrey Business School confided that it was often difficult to get law students to understand that evaluating information was more important than finding it.

We know that law is ‘out there’ but we understand how to make it work for you.

As I recently told a client “We do complicated”.