‘The cab-rank rule is dead, long live the cab-rank principle’, or words to that effect, may be heard before too long. More than two years after the prescriptive-rule-versus-laudable-principle debate was sparked, the Bar Standards Board appears ready to consider converting the rule and its many exceptions into an outcomes-focused foundation of barristers’ practice.
Achieving high time velocity is increasingly the key to law firm competitiveness. But what exactly is it? High time velocity comprises these elements: The time gap between when an activity is actually worked and then subsequently recorded; the time gap between when an activity is worked and then submitted to the billing system; and the time gap between doing the work and then sending the bill to the client.
All of those involved in claimant personal injury work knew the post-LASPO environment would be challenging. Less revenue would undoubtedly mean the need for greater efficiency for those staying in the market. In fact, perhaps the most obvious question was whether to go or stay. So for those that have stayed (and for those still unsure), what does greater efficiency mean? The answer is far from obvious.
As the market begins to settle down following the legal reforms surrounding general personal injury, solicitors and insurers are now assessing the positive and negative ramifications of these changes. The spotlight has now turned to what is perceived as another ‘growth area’ of negligence claims suddenly coming out of the woodwork, with noise-induced hearing loss now being the root of all evil, with the headlines comparing it to whiplash.
Few managing partners care how technology works but all of them care if it works. Given this dependency, IT procurement is now right up there with staff recruitment as a mission critical success factor for law firms and yet far less rigour tends to be applied to the commercial, regulatory and contractual issues involved in this key area of business risk.
Last week’s Cheltenham Festival was the highlight of the jump season calendar and it got me thinking. If the horses running in the Gold Cup were in fact after-the-event insurance providers and all the punters in the stands were law firms, which ‘horse’ is the most likely to come out on top?
Your firm’s 2015 marketing plan should now be in full swing. But if it doesn’t have the word ‘digital’ in it, you need to have a serious word with yourselves. A big headline from 2014 came from Google, who revealed that 35% of all legal services searches are now done from mobile devices.
The Legal Services Board has approved the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s proposals for changes to the CPD system, with hours-based CPD requirements for solicitors set to become a thing of the past. I believe this presents a great opportunity for the profession to raise the bar through a culture of learning, although it will demand a significant change in attitude for some.
Many commentators are voicing their opinion and there does appear to be a growing consensus that 2015 is the year the devastating side of LASPO will fully show its face. Legal Futures last month reported a prediction of impending carnage in the personal injury (PI) market and it may well be true, but are there avenues that can be taken to mitigate the destructive nature of cash drying up on small-to-medium sized PI practices.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has never been overly keen on the Solicitors Regulation Authority having its own powers to rebuke and fine solicitors – that should be the job of an independent tribunal, the message has been – and the SDT has been vociferous (particularly by its standards) in opposing SRA plans to increase the current £2,000 fine limit.