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SMDF: Some Sums

The proponents of the Law Society Council’s proposal to bail-out SMDF Limited have made much of their estimate of the cost of same per solicitor.

They have settled on a figure of €200 per year, for 10 years. This figure is reached by making a series of suppositions- that claims liability will be no more than 16 million euro, that the number of solicitors in practice will stay the same over 10 years, that reinsurers will not repudiate some or all of the claims on them and that the Law Society has the power to compel members to make such a payment.

Each of them are questionable. All of them must turn out to be true to make the €200 figure valid.

Nevertheless, if we accepted, for the sake of argument, that €16m was a valid figure, we could use it to work out what it would cost if paid for only by SMDF members. As we know SMDF indemnifies (not insures) 22% of the profession, then we can say that the total amount which would require to be levied on only them to reach the same figure is only slightly less than €1000 per year.

If, as has been asserted by the Law Society Council, it would be a disaster for that €16 million over 10 years not to be raised, it seems strange that they have rejected the (reasonable) principle that those who will benefit most, SMDF members, should look to their own resources first.