News

Disruptive ABS declares war on law’s “outdated and inflexible” working patterns, as DWF gains two ABS licences

Richard Turner Alpaca

Multi-disciplinary alternative business structure (ABS) Alpaca is continuing with its efforts to disrupt legal and other professional services by declaring war on traditional working patterns and offering flexible working to all staff – and making three board-level hires as a result.

November 16th, 2017

Partners who withheld cheques from barristers and experts sanctioned by SDT

barrister

Partners who withheld cheques for a total of over £530,000, intended to pay the fees of barristers and experts, have been sanctioned by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The architect of the scheme admitted that certain counsel were targeted as they would not kick up a fuss about payment being delayed.

November 16th, 2017

SRA bids to reassure critics of solicitor-free workplace training under SQE regime

Paul Philip no smile

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has moved to ensure greater monitoring of future members of the profession who complete their workplace training in firms without any solicitors, under its plans for a new qualification regime. The SRA said external solicitors who sign off work experience in such firms must have “direct experience of the candidate’s work”.

November 16th, 2017

Fees fall for conveyancing and powers of attorney but rise for family work, LSB report finds

Neil Buckley

Fees for conveyancing and lasting powers of attorney have fallen over the past two years, while they have risen for family work, a report by the Legal Services Board has found. It also revealed that only 18% of law firms publish prices for any of their work in these areas on their websites.

November 15th, 2017

SRA refuses request to disclose correspondence with government over Leigh Day case

SRA reception sign

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has refused a request to disclose all the correspondence it had with the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice over the Leigh Day case as it announced its intention to appeal the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s decision to clear the firm and three of its lawyers.

November 15th, 2017

Mishcon incubator buys stake in two lawtech start-ups

Nick West

London law firm and alternative business structure Mishcon de Reya has invested cash in two of the six lawtech start-ups that its incubator, MDR LAB, chose from among a crowded field earlier this year. Mishcon also announced yesterday that it would run a similar competition in 2018.

November 15th, 2017

Exclusive: Robot junior clerk already processing hundreds of bookings and reducing human working hours

Billy Bot

Billy Bot, the ‘robot junior clerk’, is now managing up to 100 new instructions a day from solicitors and members of the public, agreeing fees, booking barristers, checking for conflicts and even making the coffee. The time the system saves has already meant that the clerks at Clerksroom have to work fewer hours than before, with no cut in salary.

November 14th, 2017

Exclusive: The Beagle has landed – consumer law forum launches ‘all of market’ comparison website

Kate Briscoe 2

LegalBeagles, the decade-old consumer law forum, has launched an ‘all of market’ comparison website after raising nearly £1m in seed funding for the venture. It has pulled in open data from the Solicitors Regulation Authority to list every law firm in the country, including contact details.

November 14th, 2017

Three-quarters of law firms “unprepared” for EU data regulation with six months to go

computer security

Three quarters of law firms are still unprepared for the EU general data protection regulation which comes into force next May, potentially opening them up to large penalties, according to new research. It also found that one in five law firms admitted to experiencing an attempted cyber attack in the last month.

November 14th, 2017

Locke Lord facing major claims as ruling reveals £21m passed through its client account, while…

police station

US firm Locke Lord and its insurer have already paid out millions of pounds to settle claims brought by investors who lost money in the dubious investment schemes a former partner ran through the firm, it has emerged. Some £21m passed through the client account of its London office as part of the schemes.

November 13th, 2017

… SDT issues unprecedented rebuke of SRA over Locke Lord case comments

Andrew Spooner

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has made unprecedented public criticism of the Solicitors Regulation Authority over how it presented last week’s decision to fine US law firm Locke Lord a record £500,000. It accused the regulator of issuing “inaccurate and misleading quotations” to the media.

November 13th, 2017

Solicitor who acted as ‘general counsel’ to massive tax fraud jailed for 10 years

Brazil

A solicitor who “sold himself to greed” was last week sentenced to 10 years in prison for his part in a crime gang which committed a £108m tax fraud. Mr Justice Edis said he was used as general counsel to the scheme, “in particular to deal with the parts which were too dishonest to be shown to any honest solicitor”.

November 13th, 2017

Bringing new meaning to a legal high: US cannabis law firm targets UK opening

Cannabis plant

A pioneering US law firm that only acts for cannabis industry operators is set to launch an office in the UK. Denver-based Hoban Law Group announced this week that it will open four offices in the EU by late autumn and two offices in Latin America by spring of 2018.

November 10th, 2017

Court of Appeal to hear PI firm’s £4.5m claim over referrals it did not receive

rcj 2

The Court of Appeal has agreed to hear the case of a personal injury law firm that lost a £4.5m claim against a legal expenses insurance underwriting agency that the expected number of referrals did not materialise.

November 10th, 2017

LSB reveals “stream of disagreements” as it begins review of regulatory independence rules

Neil Buckley

A “steady stream of disagreements” between legal regulators and representative bodies means the rules governing their relationships may need to be rewritten, the Legal Services Board said yesterday. The oversight regulator said it had been notified of 30 disputes over the past three years.

November 10th, 2017

Legal Futures Blog

New right to paid leave for bereaved parents: A welcome move

Kimberley Manning DAS

This year, like many in recent years, has seen some key changes within the employment law field, with the government, trade unions and lobbyists remaining endlessly engaged in seeking to impose their interpretation of fair balance between employers and their respective workforces. Although consensus on that equilibrium can never really be achieved, sometimes there are pieces of legislative movement which are difficult to argue with regardless of your perspective: This is one of those. Published on 13 October 2017, the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill would provide for the first time a legal right to parents who are employed and have suffered the death of a child, a minimum of two weeks’ leave in which to grieve.

November 20th, 2017