News

Accountants threaten legal services pull-out if government imposes independent regulation

Peter James - ICAEW

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has warned that it will “reconsider whether it wishes to remain as a legal services regulator” if the government insists that regulators are fully independent from their professional bodies. The long-awaited consultation on this is said to be imminent.

January 18th, 2017

The SRA’s “folly”? Lawyers warn over changes to training of would-be solicitors

City of London insignia

City solicitors, regional solicitors, consumers and the Law Society have all pushed back at the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s plans to reduce the two years that students have to spend in workplace training before qualifying.

January 18th, 2017

Commercial firms need to redesign legal service with clients “refusing to pay for young lawyers”

James W Jones

Commercial law firms need to adopt a “redesigned approach to legal services”, including “paraprofessionals, technologists, information specialists, process managers and others” as well as lawyers, a major report has argued.

January 18th, 2017

Top 10 accountancy firm joins the ABS gang

Carolyn Brown RSM

RSM has become the largest firm of accountants outside of the Big Four to launch a legal practice with an alternative business structure licence. The UK’s seventh largest provider of audit, tax and consulting services – which has revenues approaching £300m a year – will target mid-tier and owner-managed businesses with RSM Legal.

January 17th, 2017

Government “cherrypicking misleading figures” to push PI reforms

Louise Ellman

Department for Transport statistics show that the government is using “misleading” figures on the number of injuries caused road traffic accidents to push forward its persona injury reforms, undermining one of the key arguments for them, the Motor Accident Solicitors Society has claimed.

January 17th, 2017

City firm launches lawtech start-up incubator

Nick West

Leading London law firm and alternative business structure Mishcon de Reya yesterday announced the creation of an incubator for lawtech start-ups, with the founder saying it was less about investment than helping to change the firm’s culture to embrace technology.

January 17th, 2017

Compensation scheme counts cost of indemnity insurance failures – but predicts no new ones this year

Gibraltar

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has had to increase its provision for general insurance claims by around £45m for the next financial year, because of the failures of Enterprise Insurance and Gable Insurance AG, it has emerged, while it is still paying out for other insurers that used to back solicitors.

January 17th, 2017

Senior judge launches extraordinary attack over “blackmail” by solicitors and tells barristers to stop defending them

Mr Justice McCloskey

A senior judge has accused solicitors of “blackmailing” the immigration tribunal in an extraordinary attack that also branded their conduct as “disgraceful” and “shameful” in not pursuing the appeals they had lodged.He also warned that some barristers had wrongly seen their role as protecting their instructing solicitors.

January 16th, 2017

Law Society warns solicitors may be damaged by Brexit

Robert Bourns

US law firms will have less incentive to employ UK-qualified lawyers as a way to access European market and the UK solicitor title will become less desirable after a hard Brexit, the Law Society has warned. In any event, transitional arrangements to ensure continuity if negotiations are not concluded with two years after article 50 is triggered are essential,

January 16th, 2017

Susskind: Parliament should adopt advanced IT for lawmaking

Susskind House of Lords

Parliament could harness the power of technology to provide a system to lawmakers that gives them the ability to test speculatively the knock-on effects of legislative changes while they are considering bills, according to IT guru Professor Richard Susskind.

January 16th, 2017

ABS owned by global insurer launches online SME subscription service

Merlie Calvert LHS

A DIY online information service run by the law firm owned by global insurance giant Markel has been opened up to individual SME subscribers. LHS Solicitors charges £45 a year for full access to a ‘digital hub’ which has templates, factsheets, guides, and legal documents, aimed at businesses.

January 13th, 2017

Disciplinary round-up: fine for firm which failed to make client’s visa application and then lost his passport

Airport sign

A north London law firm has been rebuked for misleading its client into thinking that it had made a visa application on his behalf. It is one of a series of recent disciplinary cases, including the bankrupt insolvency barrister fined for not paying over fees to his trustee in bankruptcy.

January 13th, 2017

QC body to probe why more women are not applying

Liz Truss

The body that appoints QCs has commissioned research to uncover barriers which deter women from applying, after they made up 27.6% of the latest batch of silks – but this was the highest proportion ever. In all, 113 of the 254 advocates who applied were successful, a success rate of 44.5%. They included six of 13 solicitor applicants.

January 13th, 2017

Exclusive: Accountants abandon bid to train up their own litigators and advocates – for now

ICAEW - Chartered Accountants

Accountants who want to offer tax litigation and advocacy services under an expanded regulatory regime will have to employ a lawyer after the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) abandoned its attempt to train up its own members.

January 12th, 2017

PI claimants can still use lawyers for small claims work, says justice minister

Big Ben

The government yesterday gave little indication that it was prepared to yield over its proposed reforms to personal injury, arguing that raising the small claims limit would not stop claimants using lawyers. Justice minister Sir Oliver Heald questioned whether a £40 cut in premiums should be sacrificed to uphold a 25-year-old limit that operates “in the interests of solicitors”.

January 12th, 2017

Legal Futures Blog

Be careful you do not leave anything behind: will we see the end of chambers?

Charles Feeny

Experience of practice by digital support suggests that working practices will become much more informal and spontaneous, not requiring support by specific entities or even contractual arrangements. This is likely to be particularly true of the Bar, which is or should be a profession focusing on individuals. The future of the Bar is more likely to resemble a library as seen in Scotland and Ireland – albeit an electronic library – rather than the traditional chambers structure.

January 18th, 2017