Stories about law and money are as common as corned beef and cabbage on St Patrick’s Day. They usually chronicle large law firm acquisitions, peripatetic laterals, or practice groups migrating to a firm with a higher profit-per-partner. Recent events involving a US legal service provider, a Chinese law firm, and a UK firm confirm that the law and money story is developing new plot lines emblematic of changes in the global legal services landscape.
It’s possible that you have just come to realise a cold hard truth. You, like many solo through mid-sized law firms before you, run a business. And that business has competition. With over 130,000 lawyers registered in the UK, how can you stand out from your competition (sorry, fellow practitioners) to garner clients, referrals and grow your practice? Develop your brand.
Quindell and (the previously unimpeachable) Slater & Gordon are fast becoming shorthand for the anticipated failure of the alternative business structure (ABS) experiment. A blog in Canada’s Financial Post this week suggested that they have doomed the possibility of ABSs being introduced there. So here’s my question. Why?
Imagine returning to the office after your summer holiday to find a sealed envelope marked ‘Strictly Private & Confidential’ sitting on your desk. So, after splashing on the Factor 30 in sun lounger and before you reach for your Kindle, take a few moments to reflect on the key reasons why people buy businesses and how they might apply to your law firm. Just in case that envelope is there waiting for you.
Cloud computing is proliferating the legal sector as firms see the benefits of having effective business continuity procedures in place and being able to offer staff more flexibility around how and where they work. But while most firms strive to put the protection of client information and data at the top of their priority list, how many firms actually have full knowledge about their provider? And how many are compliant with the Solicitors Regulatory Authority’s (SRA) code of conduct?
There are a lot of things that lawyers and the government do not agree about. One area where they do, generally speaking, is the need for deregulation. The ‘legal regulators’ (this now includes the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) were keen to show just how much they agree in the three reports sent by the Legal Services Board to justice minister Shailesh Vara this week.
Michael Gove’s performance before the justice select committee yesterday was a skilful one. Thoughtful, reasonable, non-dogmatic – two months into his time as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, he continues to win plaudits simply by virtue of not being Chris Grayling. Coming into the evidence session having already scrapped two of his widely despised predecessor’s most unpopular criminal justice policies, he made all the right noises and generally seemed far more engaged with his brief than Mr Grayling ever did.
The risk experts at VinciWorks have conducted multiple off-the-record conversations with various COLPs, COFAs and risk officers to discuss the risks they are examining in their firms and placing in their risk management system. In addition, we researched multiple online risk resources and the SRA’s own public statements on risk and OFR. This list features five key risks that you should focus on when compiling your risk register and conducting risk strategy sessions.
Innovation is a word much bandied around in the law – on this website more than most – without always a crystal clear idea of what it means. Many lawyers or PR people have called me up over the years to proclaim their latest exciting innovation, only for me to point out that plenty of people have been doing the same thing for ages. Today’s report from the Legal Services Board and Solicitors Regulation Authority, entitled Innovation in legal services, is more generous in its definition of innovation than I am.
A few weeks ago I was asked to speak at a Westminster Legal Policy Forum seminar on the impact LASPO has had on the claims management sector, which attracted nearly 100 delegates. The keynote speakers were Crispin Passmore, executive director of policy at the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, and Kevin Rousell, head of the Claims Management Regulation Unit at the Ministry of Justice. Given only five minutes of talk time, it was difficult to go into depth, but I did get a chance to discuss the management of risk in claimant personal injury firms.