News

Law Society and SRA give with one hand but take with other in practising fees reckoning

Law Society - Front1

The practising certificate fee for solicitors is set to fall 4% this year, but the saving will be largely wiped out by an increase in contributions to bolster the Solicitors Compensation Fund ahead of an expected rise in claims arising from their involvement in fraudulent investment schemes.

June 26th, 2017

Solicitor who took client data to new firm without consent rebuked and fined

SRA logo on brick wall

A London solicitor who took confidential information from defunct London firm Davenport Lyons to his new employer without client consent has been rebuked and fined £2,000 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The regulatory settlement agreement means he will not have to face a disciplinary tribunal.

June 26th, 2017

Passed on Thursday, in force today – new AML regulations thrust on profession

Money Laundering Series

Law firm compliance officers and money laundering reporting officers have been scrambling to get to grips with the biggest shake-up in anti-money laundering rules in a decade, with the final regulations – which were only published on Thursday – coming into force today.

June 26th, 2017

Plan for 28-month Online Court pilot emerges as MR foresees live-streaming Court of Appeal

Internet connection

A 28-month pilot of the Online Court is to start next month, with HM Courts and Tribunal Service providing face-to-face assistance to the half of people signed up to it who are expected to need help with filling in forms. Meanwhile, the Master of the Rolls has suggested that physical hearings may become capable of live streaming, particularly in the Court of Appeal.

June 23rd, 2017

Now SRA shuts down Asons’ successor firm

Asons office 3

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has today shut down Bolton firm Coops Law, less than three months since it took over the practice of controversial practice Asons, which was also closed down by the regulator.

June 23rd, 2017

Slipping through their fingers – mystery shopping shows law firms not following up enquiries

Scott Armstrong Concert

A ‘mystery shopping’ exercise to test law firms’ ability to communicate with customers has shown progress, yet the proportion of solicitors willing to follow up incoming calls from the public, although better than last year, was still “drastically low”.

June 23rd, 2017

AI technology “transformative but carries risks”, says Slaughters report

Ben Kingsley S&M (Small)

Company directors should consider the risks of using artificial intelligence technology so as to understand and manage their liability, according to a report by magic circle law firm Slaughter & May. AI was “the most transformative technology” of this century, it said. However, risks included AI being maliciously ‘re-purposed’.

June 23rd, 2017

High Court overturns dishonesty finding against solicitor due to “serious procedural irregularities”

The Right Honourable Lord Justice (Brian) Leveson of The Sentencing Council,

The High Court has overturned a finding of dishonesty made by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal against a prominent solicitor because the allegation was not tested during the hearing. The case also saw the president of the Queen’s Bench Division, Sir Brian Leveson, insist that honesty and integrity are not synonymous.

June 22nd, 2017

Number of law firms closed down by SRA falls to 12-year low

Regulation and Compliance Conference

The number of law firms closed down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority has fallen to its lowest point for more than a decade, as the impact of the 2008 crash finally recedes, figures released today have shown in an annual review that put into numbers the amount of work the regulator does.

June 22nd, 2017

“Massive memory test” preventing Bar students from understanding ethical values

barrister

Bar students are struggling to understand ethical values because of the “massive memory test” awaiting them in the examination room, a senior lecturer has claimed. William Ralston, a former barrister, also questioned why anti-money laundering does not feature in the Bar professional training course exam.

June 22nd, 2017

Queen’s Speech: Government to press ahead with PI reform and court modernisation

Big Ben

The government is to reintroduce its personal injury reforms, it was confirmed this morning in the Queen’s Speech, provoking fury among claimant lawyers. What was the Prisons & Courts Bill will not be reintroduced but there is to be both a Civil Liability Bill for the PI changes and a Courts Bill to progress court modernisation.

June 21st, 2017

Legal chatbot to issue own currency as new platform aims to predict case outcomes

Ludwig Bull LawBot 2

LawBot, a legal advice chatbot created by four Cambridge University law students, is to relaunch next month in seven countries with the aim of becoming a commercial operation funded by issuing its own cryptocurrency. The new version analyses the quality of users’ claims, moving from decision-tree reasoning to data-driven intelligence.

June 21st, 2017

Law firms, legal executives and licensed conveyancers join forces to lobby for leasehold reform

To let sign UK

A new property law alliance, the Legal Sector Group, has written to the government with a detailed set of proposals on leasehold reform. It brings together the Conveyancing Association, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the Society of Licensed Conveyancers and the Bold Legal Group. The Law Society has decided not to join.

June 21st, 2017

Prevalence of all-male teams of counsel at Supreme Court “damaging diversity”, research finds

Supreme Court night

Supreme Court judges should question the make-up of all-male teams of barristers appearing before the highest court in the land as their prevalence is damaging diversity in the profession, researchers have argued. The work highlighted the existence of homophily at the Supreme Court – the tendency of people to associate and bond with their own gender.

June 20th, 2017

Yet another firm comes a cropper by promoting SDLT avoidance schemes

HM Revenue & Customs HMRC

A law firm in Surrey has become the latest to be sanctioned for its involvement in stamp duty land tax avoidance schemes, even though it stopped working on them within eight hours of the Solicitors Regulation Authority issuing a warning about their dubious nature.

June 20th, 2017

Legal Futures Blog

How does your law firm manage and track leads? Part 1

David Kerr

You’ve set up your new website, invested in getting to number one in Google, implemented other online and offline marketing activities to support your business objectives and then, wait for it… The phone rings. Great! A new client, right? Easy! Sadly, for too many firms, this isn’t the case. In an increasingly competitive market place, law firms invest enormous amounts in marketing and lead-generation activities. They invest yet more in getting the very best lawyers they can to carry out the work. Yet most firms pay little heed to one of the most important parts of the process: converting enquiries into paying clients.

June 28th, 2017