News

Suspension activated in SDT first after “cavalier” breach

SDT

For the first time, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has activated a suspended suspension, after a solicitor revealed he had breached a disciplinary order in the course of applying to have it varied. The SRA argued that if this matter did not lead to activation of a suspension, it was hard to envisage when it would.

March 27th, 2017

Goldwag confirmed as new OLC chair and promises to manage any conflict caused by ABS investments

Wanda Goldwag

MPs have approved the appointment of Wanda Goldwag as the new chair of the Office for Legal Complaints – the body that oversees the Legal Ombudsman – as it also emerged that she has small shareholdings in two major alternative business structures.

March 24th, 2017

ABS update: Good news for Slater & Gordon, corporate services business sets up law firm, and more

Jason Spencer Crawfords

Slater & Gordon announced another sliver of good news, with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission deciding to take no further action following an investigation into whether the firm’s accounts had been falsified. We also round up other ABS news, including a law firm created by a London corporate services business.

March 24th, 2017

Exclusive: Conveyancing chatbot aims to engage potential clients looking for a quote

Matthew Pennington 2

Leading conveyancing firm Convey Law has launched what is said to be the first fully automated chatbot that can engage with potential clients, provide instant conveyancing quotes, and then arrange a follow-up conversation with a member of its team.

March 24th, 2017

Shiner “let nothing get in the way” of securing high-profile and lucrative cases, says SDT

Phil Shiner

Phil Shiner was prepared to do whatever it took to secure clients and high-profile cases, along with the “reputational and financial reward” that came with them, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal concluded in deciding to strike him off as a solicitor last month. Its full 78-page ruling was published yesterday and revealed the SRA is seeking £723,000 in costs.

March 24th, 2017

Online marketplace targets “hundreds” of law students to become paid-for McKenzie Friends

Fraser Matcham

A second-year law student in London has launched an online ‘marketplace’ for McKenzie Friends that he hopes will be boosted by “hundreds” of fellow students taking up the opportunity to gain practical experience and offer services to the public on a paying basis.

March 23rd, 2017

Supreme Court hold law firm not liable for client’s commercial misjudgement

Lord Sumption

The Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that a law firm which had been negligent in drawing up a loan facility agreement was not legally responsible for their client’s decision to actually make the loan. The decision has been branded as good news for solicitors, who “no longer appear to be expected to underwrite claimants’ risks and business ventures”.

March 23rd, 2017

LCJ: Brexit could hurt legal sector as competition from foreign lawyers hots up

Thomas LCJ in Lords

Foreign lawyers are poised to poach international litigants and unseat London as the pre-eminent global centre for dispute resolution under the cover of Brexit, according to the Lord Chief Justice in a wide-ranging and outspoken appearance before the House of Lords constitution committee in which he was critical of the government.

March 23rd, 2017

Law firm secures financial support from Welsh government to launch global anti-piracy business

CJCH Solicitors

A south Wales law firm has secured a £432,000 grant from the Welsh government to establish a global intellectual property anti-piracy business in Cardiff. The business – which will create 71 jobs by 2020 – is being spun off by CJCH Solicitors, which has expanded in recent years to include a standalone anti-piracy and compliance offering within its IP division.

March 23rd, 2017

Supreme Court backs insurer’s bid to cap liability for multiple claims against law firm

Beach at Antalya Turkey

The Supreme Court has sided with a leading professional indemnity insurer in interpreting the rules that govern the way insurers can aggregate multiple claims against solicitors. Overturning the Court of Appeal, it was ruling in claims by investors against a law firm arising from failed property developments in Turkey and Morocco.

March 22nd, 2017

Would-be complaints chief says process needs “root and branch review”

Wanda Goldwag

There needs to be a “root and branch” review of the complaints process run by the Legal Ombudsman, with the speed with which complaints are resolved a particular concern, according to the prospective chair of the organisation’s governing body.

March 22nd, 2017

Consumer panel warns against “information overload” in new transparency regime

Dr Jane Martin

The Legal Services Consumer Panel has warned of “information overload” as legal regulators struggle to come to terms with the demands of the Competition and Markets Authority for transparency on prices and complaints.

March 22nd, 2017

Impact of Brexit on legal services “a cause for concern”, justice committee says

Court of Justice

The justice select committee has described the impact of Brexit on legal services as “a cause for concern, but not hyberbole”, in a report published today. MPs said that maintaining cross-border legal practice rights and access to “valuable regulations” on inter-state commercial law should be two of the four main justice aims for government negotiators.

March 22nd, 2017

“We’ve gone for moderate options to reform PI,” says justice minister

Houses of Parliament

The increase in whiplash claims at a time of falling road traffic accidents and improving car safety means that “cases are obviously exaggerated to some extent, and perhaps fraudulent”, justice minister Sir Oliver Heald said yesterday as he defended the government’s “moderate” personal injury reform proposals during the second reading of the Prisons and Courts Bill.

March 21st, 2017

Public access work grows six-fold in only five years

Gray

The value of public access work carried out by barristers as a proportion of the profession’s income grew six-fold over just five years, according to new figures seen by Legal Futures. They come as a Bar Standards Board review of public access found it was working well, but had areas for improvement.

March 21st, 2017

Legal Futures Blog

Joint (ad)ventures in the legal sector

Nigel Wallis lo res

We all know that nothing in life is certain. As the actor, director and philosopher Clint Eastwood once said: “If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” He also said he’d tried being reasonable and didn’t like it. They should teach this kind of philosophy in law school. One thing in life is reasonably certain though. If you’re a law firm worth your salt, at some point you will be approached by another entity (most probably a work introducer) with a whizzy idea to ‘partner’ with you to ‘help you accelerate your growth’. In commercial speak this means, ‘we’d like to keep feeding you work but we’d also like to share in your profits’. The arrangement may be pitched to you as a joint venture – a win-win no less.

March 27th, 2017