News

Partner who made “improper withdrawals” from client accounts worth £2m is struck off

Tax calculator and pen

A partner who made a series of improper withdrawals from law firms’ client accounts totalling almost £2m has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Though he had used money from his father-in-law’s client account to pay his own tax bill, in general the tribunal could not identify his motivation.

May 23rd, 2018

CMC teaches law firms how to handle mortgage mis-selling claims

Rob Cooper ME Group

A Cheshire claims management company (CMC) is training law firms on how to handle mortgage mis-selling claims, it has emerged. The ME Group, set up by non-lawyer managers from Liverpool law firm High Street Solicitors, opened for business in September last year with only five staff. It has already expanded to 110.

May 23rd, 2018

Website aims to help cyclists pursue personal injury claims without lawyers

Bicycles

A website offering free legal advice to injured cyclists has been launched with the aim of removing the need for solicitors and saving victims “an average of £800”. It offers a possible vision of the future if the small claims limit goes up as intended by the government.

May 23rd, 2018

US-owned medical reports giant buys law firm as part of accident management deal

Donald Fowler

US-based medical reports giant ExamWorks – which owns leading UK provider Premex – has bought a personal injury firm as part of its acquisition of leading accident management group Kindertons. Jigsaw Law was originally a claims management company but was granted an alternative business structure licence in late 2012.

May 22nd, 2018

Ex-Locke Lord partner struck off for misconduct that landed his firm record fine

FBI agent

The former partner whose conduct in a dubious investment scheme led to the record £500,000 fine for US law firm Locke Lord last year has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Multiple allegations against Jonathan Denton – including that he acted dishonestly – were found proven and it emerged that he is now also facing criminal charges.

May 22nd, 2018

Law firm launches diploma in psychological supervision of family lawyers

Gillian Bishop

A law firm in London has launched what it believes is the first training scheme in psychologically based supervision to help family lawyers manage work-related stress. Its creator said: “I think it should be compulsory for all family lawyers, both for their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their clients.”

May 22nd, 2018

Just four of 100 highest-earning criminal defence barristers are women

SONY DSC

Women barely feature among the top 100 criminal defence barristers when judged by earnings, new figures have shown, and the Bar has been warned that the government could use EU rules on equality in procurement to force change. It all comes as the Bar Standards Board has laid out its plan to improve the position of women in the profession

May 21st, 2018

Gateley buys Surrey property law firm for £4m in biggest acquisition to date

Michael Ward

Listed law firm Gateley has made its biggest acquisition to date, and first of a law firm, with a £4.15m deal to buy Surrey property firm GCL Solicitors, while also announcing an 8% increase in turnover over the past year. The deal brings in 79 new members of staff, including six partners.

May 21st, 2018

Courts Service to use lessons of online divorce pilot to develop digital family law service

Sir James Munby

The Courts Service has laid out how it will develop its new online divorce facility, starting with enabling lawyers to submit petitions on behalf of clients and also developing both public and private family law services that are fully accessible online.

May 21st, 2018

ABSs can facilitate criminal legal aid revolution, argues former justice minister

Legal Futures conference April 2012

The legal market is “totally fragmented, under-capitalised, technologically semi-illiterate and structurally redundant”, a former justice minister has claimed, arguing that a smaller number of big firms is the answer to the problems with criminal legal aid.

May 21st, 2018

Listed law firm sees value soar by £10m as it targets regional acquisition

Nicola Foulston

The market capitalisation of Rosenblatt, which last week became the fourth law firm to go public, has already risen by £10m on the back of a strong start to trading. Its chief executive is planning a regional acquisition to provide a lower-cost offering for corporate transactions and to create a standalone litigation funding business.

May 18th, 2018

“Panicked” solicitor suspended for lending mobile to police suspect – and then denying it

Cell Phone

A young solicitor who “panicked” has been suspended for six months for lending his mobile to a criminal suspect who used it to silence a witness, and then denying it when questioned by police. Mohammed Abid’s barrister said he had made a “grave unforgivable error… he was a rabbit in headlights”.

May 18th, 2018

ABI lashes out at MPs over small claims report as claimant lawyers urge government to act on it

James Dalton

The Association of British Insurers has hit back angrily at yesterday’s justice select committee report criticising the government’s plan to raise the small claims limit, saying that it “read like a shopping list of asks from the claimant lawyers”. Claimant lawyers, by contrast, have called on the Ministry of Justice to adopt the committee’s recommendations.

May 18th, 2018

Tribunal tells SRA and solicitors it prosecutes: “We’re not just here to rubber-stamp your plea deals”

Edward Nally 2

The Solicitors Regulation Authority and the solicitors it prosecutes have been warned that disciplinary tribunals are not there to rubber-stamp any agreed outcome they reach to avoid a full hearing. There have been examples in recent months of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal rejecting agreed outcomes to proceedings

May 18th, 2018

MPs blast government’s approach to PI reform as they call for £1,500 small claims limit

Bob Neill

The small claims limit for personal injury should rise by inflation to £1,500, rather than the higher levels proposed by the government, MPs on the justice select committee have recommended. In a major boost to claimant lawyers, the committee found little credibility in much of the government’s case for raising the limit.

May 17th, 2018

Legal Futures Blog

The digital deed: what will the digital mortgage mean for property transactions?

Andrew Lloyd 2017

Over the past 20 years, nearly all aspects of our financial lives have migrated online, from tax returns to banking. Yet arguably the most important and protracted financial process in our lives has remained doggedly devoted to the paper based world. A single signature in Rotherhithe, south-east London, on 4 April, however, may have just lit the touch paper for transforming this process. By signing the UK’s first ever digital mortgage through the government’s new “sign your mortgage deed” service, a signal was sent that the home-buying process is finally on course to be digitised, simplified and streamlined.

May 24th, 2018