Whatever your views on the rightness of decision, we must now move on from the polarised pre-referendum debate and accept that Britain has, however marginally, voted to leave the EU.
But alongside Brexit comes an enormous number of challenges and uncertainties, not least for the UK's legal sector, which, it is fair to say, will never be quite the same again. In fact, there are so many implications for the UK's legal sector, from intellectual property, data protection and trademark law, to litigation, employment law, commercial law, environmental law and contracts that it is in some ways difficult to know where to begin.
The good news is that now is not the time for panic but for sober consideration. Article 50 is yet to be invoked and Brexit negotiations are still only at the rough planning state – the most UK's lawyers can do is to keep a cool head and help steady the ship so that the process is as smooth and beneficial as possible. Who knows, perhaps we may even decide to remain subject to EU Treaties, while Directives are likely to remain valid until repealed or superseded. Let's face it, the UK Government is unlikely to want to repeal and replace the majority of EU legislation.
Of course, there will come a time when lines must be laid down, but right now there is no harm in feeling optimistic about what a post-Brexit legal sector might look like. Yes, there is no certainty and, yes, with the loss of EU membership and, potentially, the framework provided by its top-down hierarchy of Treaties, Regulations, Directives, Commission Decisions and Court of Justice case law, we may have many voids to fill and bureaucratic hurdles to overcome over the next decade. However, the reassuring truth is that the British legal system has long been one of the world's best and the history that underpins it is not about to suddenly disappear, and this includes the legal impact of our more than thirty years of EU membership.
It may not currently feel like we are about to enter a brave new world, but we can at least allow ourselves some sense of excitement that we might be about to move forward with purpose and positivity by making the most of our age-old traditions while also seizing the opportunity to embrace innovation, whether it is online courts or democratic online legal platforms, of which Oratto is just one.
Undoubtedly, once Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked many of the same newspapers that decried the EU will seek to scare the public with shock headlines of administrative Armageddon, but the fact is that by taking stock and planning as carefully as possible, the UK's lawmakers and lawyers can ensure that we are prepared to enter a new legal environment.
It is up to us – that is, everyone with an interest in the legal profession – to take the lead on the crucial questions so that we can tackle all the most important challenges with knowledge and with confidence. It does not matter how opposed you were to Brexit in the first place – now is an opportunity for all our finest and most enthusiastic minds to come to together to ensure the legal impact of Brexit does not undermine what remains of perhaps the world's greatest and fairest legal system.
Of course, holding uncertainty and managing change present enormous challenges – as much psychological as logistical – but with the right groundswell of action there can be little doubt that as a profession the UK's lawyers are more than capable of meeting the challenge. Yes, it will require flexibility, open-mindedness and a willingness to listen, but we must see the challenges presented by Brexit as an opportunity to define a new era – and who wouldn't want to be part of that?