News

LSB to put regulators’ efforts to improve diversity under microscope

Neil Buckley

The Legal Services Board will next year carry out the first formal assessment of how the profession’s regulators have performed in improving diversity in their parts of the law, it has announced. Publishing its revised diversity guidance, the board said, however, that it expects to see the guidance influencing activities this year.

February 16th, 2017

Law firm pioneer turned football executive is suspended by SDT

Greg Shields

A former chief executive of Cheshire-based solicitors Forster Dean, who is now a leading football administrator in Northern Ireland, has been suspended by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal over accounts rule breaches.

February 15th, 2017

Call to give SRA power to strike off solicitors

Iain Miller

Disciplinary cases involving solicitors are now akin to High Court trials and there needs to be a major overhaul that would make the Solicitors Regulation Authority responsible for handing out all sanctions, including strike-offs, a former prosecutor has said.

February 15th, 2017

‘Cash for crash’ gang that used claims companies to “corroborate fraudulent claims” found guilty

car crash - air bag

The trial of a large-scale ‘crash for cash’ gang which used accident management companies to funnel 111 fraudulent claims to 16 insurers has ended with five defendants found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, on top of seven who had already admitted their involvement.

February 15th, 2017

Barrister fined for pestering women at chambers summer party cleared by High Court

RCJ portrait

The High Court has overturned a disciplinary tribunal finding against a barrister found to have pestered three women at a chambers summer party. Mrs Justice Lang said Stephen Howd’s “inappropriate, and at times offensive, behaviour was a consequence of his medical condition”, exacerbated by excessive alcohol.

February 14th, 2017

Bolton law firm repays insurer £100,000 for “systematically inflating” costs

Asons office 4

Claimant law firm Asons has agreed to repay more than £100,000 to AXA after admitting to falsely and systematically inflating its legal costs, the insurer said today. The dispute involved 65 personal injury cases where “Asons overstated the qualifications and experience of its legal staff to falsely inflate [its] bills”.

February 14th, 2017

Tribunal fines solicitor convicted after being taken in by ‘Pope’s banker’ conman

HSBC

The solicitor who safeguarded more than £100,000 of stolen cash for a charismatic conman posing as the Pope’s banker has been fined £2,000 following her conviction for transferring criminal property. The Crown Court judge had said she was “used” by fraudster Luis Nobre.

February 14th, 2017

Legal Ombudsman suspends publication of complaints data over accuracy concerns

Kathryn Stone LeO 2

The Legal Ombudsman has pulled from its website the details of law firms and chambers that have been subject to complaints because of concerns over their accuracy, it has emerged. The names of all providers that have been involved in complaints resolved by an ombudsman decision are usually published quarterly.

February 13th, 2017

“Our legal services will stay on top”, minister declares in face of growing threat of competition post-Brexit

Sir Oliver Heald

Justice minister Sir Oliver Heald has struck a bullish tone of defiance in response to concerns that Germany and the Netherlands are creating English-language commercial courts to compete with the UK for disputes post Brexit.

February 13th, 2017

Start-up uses AI to make contracts “easy for consumers to understand”

Meeta Gournay Nift

A service that aims to use artificial intelligence to make legal contracts readily understandable by consumers is the latest of our lawtech start-up profiles. We investigate six-month-old Nift, which is already employed by some big-name companies.

February 13th, 2017

Rebukes for partners whose firm was tricked by fraudsters into paying away client’s money

SRA logo on brick wall

Three partners of a law firm that was tricked by fraudsters into paying the proceeds of a property sale into the wrong bank account – and did not carry out sufficient checks before doing so – have accepted rebukes from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

February 10th, 2017

Barristers to pay 12% more for right to practise this year – but figures show 2,500 earn £240k+

Neil Buckley

Some 2,500 barristers will earn more than £240,000 this year, Bar Council figures have shown, and they will have to pay an extra £200 for their practising certificates after the Legal Services Board approved a 12% hike in fees across the board.

February 10th, 2017

Court rejects SDT appeal by solicitor who claimed he was acting as McKenzie Friend

RCJ portrait

The Divisional Court has thrown out an appeal by a solicitor disciplined after representing a client in court when he was not allowed to – and claimed he was instead acting as a McKenzie Friend and so beyond the regulator’s reach.

February 10th, 2017

Computer says ‘guilty’ – online convictions set to become reality

Heathrow Connect train at Paddington

Defendants will soon be able to plead guilty, be convicted and pay a penalty immediately and entirely online for certain offences, the Ministry of Justice announced yesterday as digital justice moved a step closer to reality.

February 9th, 2017

Global firm deploys robots to slash time spent on legal processes

Subject Stephen Poor, Seyfarth Managing Partner Stephen Poor.One time usage for a presentation. 10.09.2012. No Usage Rights Of Any Kind Granted Without Written Authorization from John R. Boehm.

A global law firm is deploying robotic process automation software in its high-volume legal practices, in some cases reducing the time taken to complete tasks from 35 minutes to just four minutes. But it told Legal Futures that its aim was to improve efficiency, not replace people.

February 9th, 2017

Legal Futures Blog

Rethinking ‘quality versus quantity’

Andrew Lloyd 2017

The ‘quality versus quantity’ discussion has been prevalent in conveyancing firms for as long as I can remember. Sacrifice one to achieve the other is the common perception – but should we really see these elements as mutually exclusive? According to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, the UK lags behind the US and Germany by some 30 percentage points when it comes to productivity, meaning a German worker takes four days to produce what a British worker does in five.

February 15th, 2017