The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint over an advertisement from a website that claims to help clients recover a “huge amount” of their legal costs, which said that “on average, a solicitor overcharges you by 20%”. The offending advert was headed: “Top 5 ways your solicitor rips you off.”
The Legal Services Board has said that “further discussion and evidence” is needed before it is prepared to back proposals to force law firms to publish average prices. The LSB was responding to a report by the Legal Services Consumer Panel.
A solicitor who charged one client 50 times the estimate of £2,000 and another £100,000 in fees on a probate matter on which he could “recall no detail at all”, has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The SDT said Edgar Thomas had “blatantly abused his position of trust in the most despicable way”.
Some partners in small law firms are charging £50 per hour – only £10 more than the lowest paid fee-earners, a survey has found. In some firms equity partners took home less than non-partners.
Law firms should not view mergers as a way of making costs savings, James Carter, managing partner of Charles Russell Speechlys, has warned. “Economies of scale will at best pay for the costs of merging over the next one or two years.”
The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is investigating the extent to which barristers have been accepting work from solicitors without entering into contracts, or accepting terms “contrary to their regulatory obligations”.
The continued rise in the cost of legal services at a time when consumer wealth has fallen could be putting people off seeking legal advice, new research has suggested. The Legal Services Board report also found indications of falling quality.
The introduction of self-regulation for third-party litigation funding may not be sustainable in the long term, a team of leading academics has warned. They also highlighted the risks that contingency fees pose.
News round-up takes in an important court victory for the Legal Services Commission on legal aid payments, a major survey showing that City lawyer salaries are very much on the up and partners borrowing more to pay tax bills.