Lawyers should use artificial intelligence to improve their work, drive efficiencies, increase accuracy and retain clients, the president of the Law Society has said. However, Jonathan Smithers said “expert intervention by lawyers” would always be needed.
A “potentially high-profile and contentious” dispute between the Legal Services Board (LSB) and the Law Society is looming over how the latter spends money derived from practising fees. The LSB is to review its 2009 Practising Fee Rules after a hole was found in the Legal Services Act 2007.
Rather than feeling threatened by accountants’ move into legal services, law firms should set up alternative business structures (ABS) and compete with them, the president of the Law Society has said. Jonathan Smithers said: “The success of ABS to date indicates that clients are generally not concerned about sourcing their legal services from non-lawyers.”
Any short-term “bonanza” in legal work triggered by Britain’s exit from the EU would be followed by a drought, City lawyers have warned in a report by the Law Society. The society highlighted the impact on England and Wales as a centre of international dispute resolution.
Veyo is still being tested and there is no fixed date for its national launch, the president of the Law Society told property lawyers last week. Jonathan Smithers admitted that “clearly the publicity ran well ahead of the product”.
City solicitors have outlined their deep scepticism about plans by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to reform professional indemnity insurance rules, warning that “the solicitor brand should not be placed at risk” without very good reason.
Paul Philip, chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, has hit back after the SRA’s latest indemnity insurance plans were fiercely criticised by the Law Society. He said the regulator had made “absolutely no new recommendations”.
Jonathan Smithers, president of the Law Society, has described chief executive Catherine Dixon as “fully committed” to ensuring that medical negligence lawyers are “fairly rewarded” under any new fee regime imposed by the government, despite her previous role on the other side of the fence.
An online poll of 900 solicitors by the Law Society has revealed that 15% failed to do 16 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) last year – the minimum required. The poll found that 17% had already moved to the new hours-free ‘continuing competence’ regime.
The vast majority of solicitors who responded to a Law Society survey on the practising certificate fee said they thought it did not represent value for money. Many said the Law Society should get a bigger share and the Solicitors Regulation Authority a smaller one.