One of the big changes in legal education recently has been the rise of interest in apprenticeships as a vehicle for developing paralegal and non fee-earning staff within law firms. The drivers for this are partly economic but technological change and a realisation that talented young people were being missed in the quest for graduates have also played a part.
Over the last few years a growing gap has emerged between new school and old school law firms. It’s not as many predicted, in that new firms would emerge and take over the world while long-established firms would fail to respond and disappear. Far from it. Some new firms are struggling to surface above water while a number of traditional firms are finding new ways to reinvent themselves.
Eight years is a long time at the helm of an organisation like the Law Society, and so as he departs Chancery Lane as its chief executive for the last time, Des Hudson takes a lot of baggage with him. But what is the legacy of a man who started off as a breath of fresh air after taking over from the unpopular Janet Paraskeva, and ended up on the wrong end of a vote of no confidence from the profession?
It’s an important step for any business to make the decision to either fully outsource its switchboard or secure a provider to respond to overspill calls that would go otherwise unanswered – which is why you have to get it right. Times have certainly changed. Outsourcing is no longer a dirty word, with businesses large and small understanding that they can’t always do everything themselves.
At present, the main option for a group of barristers wishing formally to collaborate and share profits is to form an SRA-regulated law firm or, if non-lawyer managers are involved, an SRA-regulated alternative business structure (ABS). The impending introduction of entity regulation (and most likely ABSs) by the BSB will tip things on their head and create additional options for entrepreneurial barristers.
The recent headlines about Wonga, Lloyds and other large institutional organisations using fictitious law firms as a means of ‘upping the ante’ with debtors has really focused minds on the morals and ethics adopted by such organisations.
A direct consequence of the government’s decision in May not to make any major changes to the regulatory framework for legal services is that it simultaneously fired the starting gun for the race to introduce major changes to the regulatory framework for legal services.
An increasing number of law firms are now using captives for their insurance arrangements as firms take proactive steps to regain control of their own destiny and secure direct benefits from their good risk management and efficient operation.
Solicitors have been given another wake-up call with regards to criminal clones this month by their regulator. In its second annual risk outlook, delivered last week, bogus law firms were elevated to being one of the key risks facing the profession. How does your firm protect itself from this risk?
To say that the paralegal enquiry launched by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is timely is a massive understatement. It is a highly significant piece of work – its aims ambitious, its scope comprehensive, its outcomes potentially far-reaching.