A property management firm specialising in residential blocks of flats has turned itself into an alternative business structure, in what is understood to be first move of its kind. “At the moment we’re a property management company with a legal capacity. In 10 years’ time, it is likely to be the other way round,” said director Matthew Young.
Lawyers expect the opening up of the legal market to lead to more multi-disciplinary professional services companies, offering consultancy, business and legal advice, research has shown.
It is plain that the SRA is keen to be seen as innovative, forward-thinking and ultimately the ‘regulator of choice’ when it comes to MDP ABSs. However, when you look beyond the hype of this development and consider the detail, it becomes clear that the SRA’s methodology in licensing MDPs is fundamentally flawed.
The Legal Services Board has backed a new “flexible” approach by the Solicitors Regulation Authority aimed at making it easier for multi-disciplinary partnerships to become licensed as alternative business structures.
The Legal Ombudsman has introduced a policy for dealing with complaints about organisations which provide non-legal as well as legal services, such as some alternative business structures and, shortly, accountants who offer probate advice.
The board of the Solicitors Regulation Authority today approved a series of measures to further its regulatory reform programme, including making it easier for multi-disciplinary practices to become alternative business structures.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has decided to go ahead with cutting the minimum compulsory cover for indemnity insurance from £2m to £500,000, despite strong opposition from the Law Society.
“Radical changes” to the authorisation and supervision of alternative business structures are on the cards after the Solicitors Regulation Authority expressed concern that the number of applications from multi-disciplinary practices has been “in the tens rather than hundreds”.
The former head of construction at City giant Norton Rose has turned his legal consultancy into an alternative business structure, but has had difficulty finding a non-lawyer professional partner of similar standing to link up with.
One in five mid-sized law firms expects to seek external investment to fund expansion within an alternative business structure, according to a major benchmarking survey. However, very few see a merger with non-lawyer professionals in their future.