News

Top-50 accountancy firm becomes ABS

Law Clinic 170614

Top 50 accountancy firm Barnes Roffe has become the latest to gain an alternative business structure licence, Legal Futures can reveal. Meanwhile, Nottingham Law School’s ABS and ‘teaching law firm’ has launched a business and enterprise law service to provide affordable legal advice to small businesses, entrepreneurs and charities.

May 24th, 2017

LSB decides against changing rules on telling clients about complaints procedures

Keyboard with Complaint Button.

The Legal Services Board has dismissed concerns about the “negative” impact of its requirement that lawyers tell clients about their complaints procedures before any work has been done. Research found “negative reactions” to the prominence of this information but the board said the problem was how some lawyers have chosen to provide it.

May 24th, 2017

Manchester Law Society calls for pro bono volunteers to aid bomb victims

Fran Eccles-Bech

Manchester Law Society has called for firms to join a pro bono advice rota to help those bereaved or injured in the Manchester Arena bomb on Monday. The society is looking for firms who are willing to give pro bono advice and free representation to bereaved families to assist with applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and with inquests.

May 24th, 2017

Personal injury firm sold multi-track work after “sudden and unexpected” rejection by bank

the road of money

A personal injury firm was forced to sell its multi-track work at a “considerable” loss after the “sudden and unexpected” withdrawal of support from its bank, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has heard as it fined two partners and a non-lawyer partner for retaining unpaid professional disbursements in its office account.

May 23rd, 2017

Senior management of defunct firm Cobbetts set to face tribunal over alleged incompetence

SRA reception sign

The former senior and managing partners of Manchester firm Cobbetts, as well as its former finance director, are among eight people who have been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal over alleged incompetence in the demise of the practice.

May 23rd, 2017

Land Registry to trial blockchain-backed digital property transfer

Land Registry

HM Land Registry plans to live test a ‘Digital Street’ scheme which will enable the “almost instant” transfer of property ownership, backed by technology including blockchain – the secure distributed ledger underpinning the Bitcoin currency – it has emerged.

May 23rd, 2017

Regional practice becomes ABS to facilitate equity swap with Singapore firm

Ed Turner Taylor Vinters

A law firm has acquired an alternative business structure licence to facilitate an equity swap, as part of its bid to integrate with a firm of Singapore lawyers and comply with restrictive local laws on ownership. A regulatory rule change in Singapore made it difficult for the branches of foreign firms to operate.

May 22nd, 2017

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

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