It’s the hottest summer since the end of the Ice Age and the cold dark misery of winter seems a long way off. Try, if you can, to cast you mind forward to January 2014. A depressing month at any time, we can rely on the SRA to make January just that little bit less endurable – last January it was the COLP and COFA regime, next year it’s diversity monitoring.
It came as a major surprise to many in the industry when In-Deed closed for business. Despite a difficult trading period, with over £1m in cash on its balance sheet the company appeared in better health than many conveyancing practices. The closure marked a swift rise and fall in fortune for one of the poster children of liberalisation of the legal market.
Brands are not just for big firms. Thayne Forbes argues that they can work for smaller practices as well, explaining how to create one, where the value lies, ensuring it appeals to your target market and the risks of adopting a marketing collective’s brand instead.
Lawrence Cook, director of marketing and business development at Thesis Asset Management – which was once owned by and is still linked to south-east law firm Thomas Eggar – outlines their experience of joint ventures with solicitors.
Since the introduction of the SRA Handbook, firms have been asking whether they should introduce or improve a file review system. Corinne Staves, a senior associate at Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP, considers the issues.
Seven alternative business structures in more than five months does not seem to be a great achievement on the part of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and increasingly Legal Futures has been hearing complaints about delay and a lack of transparency in the process.
Andy Ellis, the managing director of Practico and the costs lawyer who acted for the defendant News Group Newspapers in the Henry costs management case, highlights the key lessons from the ruling.
Direct public access – a chance for barristers and solicitors to work together, not against each other
With more and more barristers capable of serving the public directly, it may seem like public access is only going to lead to greater competition with solicitors. But, argues senior clerk Scott Baldwin, there is actually a business opportunity here that could benefit both sides.
Allison Wooddisse, head of LexisPSL Practice Compliance, looks at the whether and how law firms should indemnify COLPs against adverse consequences from taking on the role. Many COLPs are feeling jumpy but an indemnity is not as straightforward as it may appear.
The recession and continuing economic challenges highlight the increasing importance of law firms having an effective business strategy in place that considers the ambitions of the firm but ensures that those ambitions are delivered against access to suitable levels of cash flow. By Legal Futures Associate NatWest
Chris Marston, head of professional practices at Lloyds TSB Commercial, takes a look at how solicitors’ firms can compete against external capital.
The fallout from the financial crisis as well as growing threats from the legal process outsourcing industry is making it even more difficult for legal practices to juggle client expectations and fee income, says Peter Collins. Many are looking to manage their own resources more effectively.
The recent case of a Scottish advocate’s stolen, unencrypted laptop raises some important questions regarding data controller responsibility, portable media (not just laptops) and the options available for securing such media, explains Matt Torrens.
The Bar Council is urging barristers to embrace public access. But, says John Binks, the reality of doing the work will come as a rude shock to many barristers. It can be done, but they will need to revisit the way they do business, including the chambers model.
Lisa Dixon from the Institute of Legal Finance & Management argues that firms should consider issuing separate terms and conditions with their client-care letters that deal specifically with the issues around client funds.