Placing law firms’ complaints data and insurance claims in the public domain are among the “initial ideas” published today by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to improve transparency in the legal market – but it is not currently planning to mandate firms to publish prices.
The High Court has granted insurance company LV= permission to bring committal proceedings against solicitors from a defunct law firm after two starkly contrasting medical reports emerged in a road traffic case they were handling.
Solicitors who ceded control of their firms to non-lawyers – in one instance they claimed their practice had been taken over by a criminal gang – have been sanctioned by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. In the first case, it struck off three partners following mortgage frauds that have already cost the profession nearly £3m.
The global legal market is small by comparison with other markets and this is deterring some technology companies from investing in it, but only technology can service the “vast unmet legal need” in the future, according to a leading lawtech commentator.
A group of Conservative MPs will next week lobby justice secretary Liz Truss to press ahead with the proposed personal injury reforms. Last week it emerged that the long-awaited consultation on raising the small claims limit and removing general damages for low-value soft-tissue injuries has been unexpectedly put on the backburner.
Law firms need to radically change their cultures to embrace emerging technologies such as cognitive computing – including suppressing their tendency to be risk averse – according to the head of strategy at a leading London practice.
The Ministry of Justice can get its “house in order” on Brexit, permanent secretary Richard Heaton has promised MPs. The comment came as Mr Heaton told the justice select committee the MoJ hoped to raise £300m from its latest round of 86 court closures, in an attempt to meet further budget cuts.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has made a direct plea to government to use next month’s Autumn Statement to make good on the plan announced in last year’s to grant it full independence from the Law Society.
The Bar has nothing to fear from an online court, but it must take direct access “seriously”, Lord Justice Briggs has said. In particular, he said, the young Bar, which “excels” in providing a “competitive” service, would be well placed to play its part in the new court.
A company buildings contracts that automatically monitor enforcement and one producing software that harmonises legal compliance are among the latest investments to be added to the portfolio of NextLaw Labs, the legal tech subsidiary of global law firm Dentons.
Online dispute resolution “will become the norm for much of the less complex work in civil, family and tribunals jurisdictions”, the Senior President of Tribunals said over the weekend. Meanwhile, it was also predicted that the administration of justice across all courts and tribunals could be transferred to the “cloud” within the next four years.
The Bar’s regulator will take a “cautious” approach to licencing alternative business structures (ABSs) and look closely at non-lawyer owners to ensure no “naughty” behaviour, but said over the weekend that there is strong interest in the possibilities on offer.
Four Cambridge university law students have created a free artificial intelligence ‘chatbot’ using natural language input with the aim of clarifying whether a criminal offence has taken place and making it more likely the police will take victims of crime seriously.
Three partners at well-known London law firm Fladgate have been sanctioned by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for allowing its client account to be used as a banking facility. Just over £4m went in and out of client account without any underlying legal transaction, in breach of the accounts rules.
Claims that the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme does little to actually check the quality of the work solicitors do have been rejected by Chancery Lane. It was reported recently that since the scheme was launched in 2010, assessors have visited only 12 of the 3,000-plus members of the scheme.
Legal Futures Blog
I visit a lot of different businesses in the course of my job – both law firms and other types of organisations. This gives me a unique opportunity to compare how the legal sector is shaping up against the commercial world in how they welcome visitors to their business, and it’s fair to say that those that go the extra mile certainly stand out.