News

New APIL chief urges SRA to act over solicitors taking referrals from cold-callers

The Solicitors Regulation Authority needs to do more to crack down on law firms that take cases from companies that generate leads through cold-calling, the new president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has said. He also warned that government PI reforms have been paused, not scrapped.

May 22nd, 2017

Barrister disbarred after failing to pay share of fees to chambers

Money cuts

A barrister who dishonestly failed to pay his share of chambers’ fees has been disbarred. Over two years, he failed to inform 4 Kings Bench Walk of the fees he had received for 32 public access and then dishonestly failed to pay the chambers £4,236 which he was legally liable for as a result.

May 22nd, 2017

Exclusive: LSB bids to calm senior judges’ worries over its vision for regulatory reform

Baroness Hale

The Legal Services Board is to meet with the deputy president of the Supreme Court, Baroness Hale, after she expressed the senior judiciary’s concern over its statement last year that the regulatory objective of ‘encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession’ was “problematic”.

May 19th, 2017

Stock exchange investment “needed to bring down law firm costs”

Trevor Griffiths

Increasingly demanding business clients and the need to raise capital to invest in technology to bring legal costs down will eventually lead to more commercial law firms listing on stock exchanges, according to a senior corporate adviser. He said listing offered a number of advantages.

May 19th, 2017

High Court ticks off unregulated legal business for not being clearer about its status

rcj 2

The High Court has criticised an unregulated legal business run by a non-practising barrister for “sailing too close to the wind” by failing to be clear in correspondence that it was not a solicitors’ firm. However, service of a claim by the company on behalf of a litigant in person was not invalid.

May 19th, 2017

Tories pledge whiplash reform and “stronger” legal services regulation

Theresa May

The Conservative Party is to press on with reforming personal injury, with a pledge in its election manifesto today to “reduce insurance costs for ordinary motorists by cracking down on fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash claims”. It has also promised to “strengthen legal services regulation”.

May 18th, 2017

Legal services market huge but “hard for investors to access”

Chris Bogart colour

The first ever investor conference aimed at the business of law in a listed environment has heard that while investment opportunities in the legal sector are limited, the sheer value of assets makes it attractive. The broker which organised it said: “We remain convinced that we will see more legal services businesses using a listing over time.”

May 18th, 2017

Lord Chief Justice emphasises vital role of law schools in face of education reforms

Lord Thomas_crop

The Lord Chief Justice has signalled concerns about the impending reform to educating law students, saying that a “very broadly based legal education” and law schools “as the centres of excellence” must not be diluted. Lord Thomas said the start of a legal career “must be at law school”.

May 18th, 2017

SRA should be wary of “litigation tactics disguised as conduct complaints” after ‘400 Club’ ruling

Paul-Bennett for Legal Futures

A Court of Appeal ruling this week that exonerated claimant personal injury solicitors of gaming the system for low-value road traffic accident claims is also evidence that the Solicitors Regulation Authority needs to take more care when dealing with complaints by parties to litigation, it was argued yesterday.

May 18th, 2017

ABS combining law, accountancy, finance, HR and more aims to be “doubly disruptive”

Richard Turner Alpaca

A one-stop shop for SMEs launched this week has set itself the goal of changing both the way legal and financial services are delivered and the way professionals work. By employing a “doubly disruptive philosophy”, it might be possible to break free not only of traditional business models but of traditional labels such as lawyer or accountant, the firm says.

May 17th, 2017

QC reprimanded for “offensive” remarks in court about abuse victim

Howard Godfrey QC

A barrister who claims to be a “master strategist and tactician” was reprimanded last week for making “offensive” comments about a child abuse victim while her mother sat in court. He said the 16-year-old “was not a young and innocent girl” as he represented her attacker in the Court of Appeal.

May 17th, 2017

In-house lawyers “reluctant” to embrace technology

D Casey Flaherty NextLaw

In-house lawyers have been significantly slower to adopt technology than their counterparts in business, according to a prominent legal technology innovator. Former in-house lawyer D Casey Flaherty, an advisor to Dentons’ lawtech incubator NextLaw Labs, said lawyers as a group were “reluctant” to embrace technology

May 17th, 2017

Labour lays out plan to “widen access” to justice system

Jeremy Corbyn

There are many improvements that can be made both to the law and to court processes to ensure that justice is not simply “the preserve of the rich”, the Labour Party said today as Jeremy Corbyn unveiled its manifesto for next month’s election. It included pledges to widen legal aid eligibility and introduce no-fault divorce.

May 16th, 2017

What’s in a name? Appeal judges reject pleas of claimant who sued wrong firm

RCJ portrait

Appeal judges have rejected the pleas of a claimant who, faced by two law firms with similar names set up by the same solicitor, sued the wrong one. The court heard how Godfrey Morgan Solicitors and Godfrey Morgan Solicitors Limited were run “in parallel, as distinct businesses”.

May 16th, 2017

Mishcon incubator backs “ambitious” global lawtech startups

Nick West

The technology incubator of London law firm and alternative business structure Mishcon de Reya has chosen six lawtech companies for investment from a shortlist of 19 startups that pitched last month. Two are based in the UK, with the remainder coming from Germany, the US, and India.

May 16th, 2017

Legal Futures Blog

How to protect your firm from ransomware

Adam Curtis Hoowla

One news item has dominated the headlines over the last week – cyber-attacks and, in particular, the WannaCry ransomware. It is a well-known and well-documented fact that the legal industry, and conveyancing in particular, can be a vulnerable and high value target. This ranges from property hijacking – where fraudsters pose as legitimate owners of a property and sell it on without the real owner’s knowledge – to ‘Friday afternoon fraud’, with criminals contacting a busy law firm to ‘update’ their bank details to redirect funds.

May 22nd, 2017