Legal eagles' protection comes with a high cost
Not even the Troika were able to significantly cut the costs of legal services in this country. During the bailout era, the cost of hiring lawyers and reform of the legal profession was a constant bugbear of the European Commission. During the reviews of the bailout, a familiar item on the list of policy proposals would be "the opening up of competition in sheltered sectors like legal services".
Privately, officials would express extreme exasperation around the failure to address the cost to the consumer and the wider economy of this most sheltered of the so-called sheltered sectors.
The list of the sheltered sectors was wider than just the legal profession, also including the pharmacy and medical professions. The watering down of the provisions of Alan Shatter's Legal Services Bill showed the influence the legal profession brought to bear on the political classes.