The use of fixed fees in family, probate and housing cases has risen significantly, leading to far higher rates of client satisfaction than when they pay by the hour, according to a major consumer survey.
More large law firms are expected to fail over next few years and the risk of theft of client funds is rising, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has warned. It has also speculated that in future indemnity insurance or even policies purchased by clients may need to cover the cost of intervening in firms.
There is a widespread desire to move away from the hourly rate model, according to a survey of in-house lawyers that found them wanting their external law firms to share risk. Senior counsel at 80 international companies believe that law firms should provide ‘budget certainty’.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has warned that having a complex tax avoidance scheme approved by a senior lawyer does not render it safe after a specialist tax QC who designed his own scheme saw it struck down.
HMRC is set to scrutinise the status of law firm partners after measures announced in the Budget. The Treasury is to consult on removing the presumption of self-employment for LLP partners and on countering the “artificial allocation of profits to partners”.
The full distribution remuneration model is on the way out because law firms want to stockpile funds within the business, according to a survey. It is being phased out in favour of a more ‘corporate’ approach to bolster firms’ finances.
Profits per equity partner at the most successful small and medium-sized firms were more than 40 times those of the bottom-earning firms last year, a major study by NatWest has revealed. “It could be observed that the average firm was making virtually no real profit,” it also reported.
Many small and medium-sized law practices expect alternative business structures to affect them directly, with a third saying they could merge with another firm and one in five likely to seek external funding and/or bring in non-lawyer owners, a survey has found.
Law firms are not maximising the potential in either their clients or their staff, according to new benchmarking research seen by Legal Futures. Firms reported very different results from cross-selling, for example,
Barristers will soon be able to offer a full range of legal services after the Bar Council unveiled a third-party escrow account which will hold client money. All funds are to be held in a ring-fenced account with Barclays.