Articles

Articles

  • Keeping Emails Safe 28 July, 2017 - SRA reports a record number of cyber thefts from law firms with more than double the number in the first quarter of this year (compared to last year) and triple the amount (£3.2m) stolen. Around three-quarters of the cyber thefts involved some form of email hacking fraud. Here we look at some of the steps that firms can take to avoid this.
  • The Continuing Problem of Fraudulent Investment Schemes 26 June, 2017 - As the SRA issues another warning to solicitors of the dangers of involvement in fraudulent investment schemes it is clear that some are still not heeding those warnings. This article looks at the issues and how firms can avoid becoming involved.
  • GDPR and your Firm 26 May, 2017 - Described by the EU as the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years, The General Data Protection Regulation was finally approved after four years of preparation and debate and will come into effect in the UK on 25 May 2018. This article looks at what it says, the impact it is likely to have on law firms and what those firms should be doing to prepare.
  • Draft Money Laundering Regulations Published 28 March, 2017 - HM Treasury publishes long-awaited Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017
  • BYOD bring you own device The regulatory and practice implications of BYOD 24 February, 2017 - Taking a look at the advantages and disadvantages of implementing BYOD, the risks that exist and safeguards firms can consider when implementing it – including the need for a robust BYOD policy
  • The Problems of Conveyancing Theft 24 January, 2017 - Recent news reports of the first-time buyer tricked into paying over £74,000 to a fraudster posing as his solicitor over email reinforces the messages contained in the SRA's recent report “IT Security: Keeping information and money safe“ which was published at the beginning of December 2016. In this article we look at some of the issues involved and at steps firms should be taking to protect themselves and clients.
  • Are you Reasonably Adjusted? 16 December, 2016 - Here we consider reasonable adjustment and the need to ensure that those with a disability are able to undertake their employment or access premises and services your firm provides.
  • How Much Should We Reveal About Ourselves? 27 October, 2016 - The question of how much information consumers should be given about a solicitors’ practice has come to the fore with the publication this month of an SRA discussion paper entitled “Regulatory Data and Consumer Choice in Legal Services”. Here we take a look at the question of the provision of firm data.
  • CPD – practical steps to complying with the new SRA training requirements 27 September, 2016 - With just over a month to go until the SRA's new approach to CPD becomes compulsory for all solicitors, there remains a lack of awareness as to what the new proposals will and will not require. This article looks at those requirements and at what solicitors need to do in order to achieve compliance.
  • Confidentiality and disclosure – an introduction 30 August, 2016 - Whilst many understand that they are under a duty to protect confidential information relating to their relationship with clients, far fewer realise the ease with which that duty can be breached or understand the need to ensure that everyone within the firm must be aware of the importance of client confidentiality – at all times – whether at work or in their private lives. This article provides an introduction.
  • Bogus Law Firms and Identity Theft 28 July, 2016 - Of all the security issues faced by solicitors, identity theft is one of the most damaging leading to reputational damage and harm to client relationships. This article considers the problems of bogus firms and identity theft and looks at some of the steps solicitors can take to avoid both.
  • The New Rule Book Consultation 28 June, 2016 - SRA issues consultation on proposed introduction of shorter, sharper, clearer Handbook designed to benefit both consumers and solicitors. What does it contan and how will it differ from the previous version?
  • Prohibition on provision of banking facilities by solicitors 31 May, 2016 - Despite continued warnings to the contrary, it would appear from looking at the legal press that solicitors’ firms continue to use client account as a banking facility for clients in circumstances where there is no underlying transaction.
  • Inappropriate behaviour, vulnerable clients and the solicitor 26 April, 2016 - All solicitors should, as the recent case of SRA v Lee shows, be especially aware of the needs of vulnerable clients and should take steps to ensure that the service they provide is appropriate in the circumstances. In this article we look at what might constitute vulnerability and at some of the steps solicitors should be taking when advising vulnerable clients.
  • Register of people with significant control 29 March, 2016 - Under provisions that come in on 6th April, UK companies, Societates Europaeae & LLPs need to identify those who own or control them and a keep a "people with significant control" register of those interests
  • Introductions and Referrals 24 February, 2016 - Introductions and referrals continue to be an important part of everyday legal practice. In this article we look at the regulations which apply to these and at what firms must do to remain on the right side of the SRA.
  • When is a disbursement really a disbursement? 26 January, 2016 - The question of when a payment is capable of being a disbursement and when it is merely part of a firm’s overhead or charge continues to be a difficult one.  It can also, if not correctly addressed, be a question likely to lead firms into potential confrontation with HMRC, the SRA, the courts and, not least, the client.
  • A Brave New Regulatory World 17 December, 2015 - As 2015 draws to a close, it is perhaps as good a time as any to reflect on what the regulatory world might hold for solicitors in the year to come and perhaps to speculate on whether it will be any better, worse or just the same old same old.
  • Keeping it Safe – the importance of passwords 27 November, 2015 - Cybercrime is an increasing threat for lawyers and safe management of passwords is an important part of the security measures they must put in place. Here we look at some of the issues involved.
  • The Separate Business Rule – changing the rules of engagement 23 October, 2015 - The announcement by the SRA of fundamental change to the operation of the separate business rule has at a stroke potentially revolutionised the way in which solicitors can deliver legal services to the public and has gone a substantial way towards levelling the regulatory playing field for traditional legal practices.
  • Managing Social Media – Part III 22 September, 2015 - Recent years have seen a huge growth in the use of social media, and alongside that growth has come the increase in the problems which individuals and businesses face in how to manage social media within the workplace. In this, the third and final article in a three part series dealing with the management of social media, we look at some of the steps that firms and individuals should be taking in order to manage social media.
  • Managing Social Media – Part II 22 September, 2015 - Recent years have seen a huge growth in the use of social media, and alongside that growth has come the increase in the problems which individuals and businesses face in how to manage social media within the workplace. In this, the second article in a three part series dealing with the management of social media, we look at some of the criminal, civil and other issues which can arise.
  • Managing Social Media – Part 1 22 September, 2015 - Recent years have seen a huge growth in the use of social media, and alongside that growth has come the increase in the problems which individuals and businesses face in how to manage social media within the workplace. In this, the first article in a three part series dealing with the management of social media, we look at the nature of the problem and in particular some of the regulatory implications that arise.
  • Undoing the bundle – alternative ways to offer legal services 25 August, 2015 - As the popularity of McKenzie friends and other "alternative" forms of legal delivery grow in popularity, so law firms must start to look at alternative methods for delivering their services to a public that may no longer be able to afford traditional legal services
  • THE SRA Risk Outlook 2015-16 and Changes to Regulation 28 July, 2015 - SRA publishes Risk Outlook for 2015-16 and links it to potential regulatory changes
  • Making the Most of Google 28 July, 2015 - Solicitors and others in the regulated sector are losing out to the unregulated sector when it comes to getting in work from Google says LSB chief executive
  • Rules to Change on Separate Businesses 26 June, 2015 - SRA announces changes to the rules relating to separate business which will remove restrictions on solicitors having links with outside businesses
  • Closing down with care – planning your firm’s exit 28 May, 2015 - The principal aim in closing down your solicitors firm should, and must, be the protection of the interests of clients and third parties. Here we look at the reasons why firm's should have in place a plan for closing their practice and what they need to do if and when that eventuality arises.
  • Oiling the Wheels – solicitors and the offering of inducements 28 April, 2015 - The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015  came into effect on 13 April and included a ban on inducements being offered in relation to personal injury work. How will this affect solicitors and what is the position generally as to inducements.
  • SRA Risk Outlook – Spring Update 27 March, 2015 - This month saw the publication of the SRA’s Spring Update to their Risk Outlook which gives a clear message that misuse of money and assets, cybercrime and bogus firms, money laundering and diversity issues continue to challenge the SRA.
  • Rogue employees and partners Spotting the Bad Apple – Dealing with Rogue Partners and Staff (Part II) 25 February, 2015 - One of the many risks that solicitors’ firms face is that of the rogue partner or employee.  In this, the second of two articles dealing with rogue partners and staff we look at what firms can do when a rogue partner or employee is suspected or discovered.
  • Rogue employees and partners Spotting the Bad Apple – Dealing with Rogue Partners and Staff (Part I) 25 February, 2015 - One of the many risks that solicitors’ firms face is that of the rogue partner or employee.  In this, the first of two articles dealing with rogue partners and staff we look at what firms can do to prevent the problem from arising in the first place.
  • Whistle Blowing by Solicitors 27 January, 2015 - The recent report in the Law Society’s Gazette concerning SRA involvement in a legal action by a law firm against an in-house ‘whistle blower’ once again throws into the spotlight the issue of disclosure and whistle blowing to the SRA. Here we look at the duties upon solicitors to whistle blow and the consequences of doing so.
  • Client Capacity 26 January, 2015 - The topic of client capacity is a difficult one for most solicitors to deal with – how do you go about raising with a client, or prospective client, the fact that they may not have the capacity to instruct you and what do you then do if you find that such capacity does not exist? Here we look at issues surrounding capacity and at some of the issues solicitors need to consider when making a decision.
  • Avoiding Cyber Scams 19 December, 2014 - As the number of cyber scam alerts grows it becomes more important that solicitors prevent having their identity used by others in the commission of a crime
  • SRA Reaches Out to Small Firms 27 November, 2014 - SRA launches new small firm initiative which, it says, will help small firms with the regulatory problems they encounter
  • Training and the SRA 25 October, 2014 - SRA publish position statement and further consultation in relation to changes to the training of prospective solicitors and CPD
  • SRA Consumer Credit Proposals 24 October, 2014 - The SRA have published a consultation on the regulation of consumer credit activities, proposing that it stop regulating consumer credit activity from April 2015 and instead require firms to be authorised directly by the FCA
  • Annual Report of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal 26 September, 2014 - This month saw the publication of the SDT Annual Report 2013 -2014 which highlights a worrying trend in the increasing number of lay applications.
  • Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts 26 September, 2014 - The past months have seen a number of deregulatory proposals from the SRA. However, worthy as these aims are, there is a hidden burden that is often overlooked by the SRA – namely the hidden cost brought about by increasing lack of certainty.
  • comparison web sites Using Legal Comparison Web Sites 25 August, 2014 - Like it or not, it looks as if legal comparison web sites are here to stay - at least until the next "big idea" comes along. Should you and your firm be engaging with them and what are the factors which you need to bear in mind?
  • Coping with the potential October PII Rule Changes 29 July, 2014 - The SRA has announced plans to make changes to rules relating to the minimum terms for PII cover - what has been the reaction and what should firms now do?
  • Approaching Risk in the coming years – a look at the SRA Risk Outlook 2014/15 18 July, 2014 - SRA publishes the 2014/15 version of their "Risk Outlook" document setting out that which the SRA perceives to be the key risks for firms in the coming year
  • serious crime bill Serious Crime Bill – its impact on solicitors 26 June, 2014 - What is the serious crime bill likely to mean in practice and could it equally target innocent solicitors unwittingly caught up in the criminal process? What should firms be thinking about in terms of processes and how will the cost be borne.
  • CPD changes – opportunity or charter for cutbacks? 28 May, 2014 - The SRA have, to the surprise of many in the training sector, decided to revoke the current CPD scheme and rely instead on existing provisions requiring a proper standard of legal practice and of training and supervision. Where does this leave firms in relation to their training and what will be the impact upon them in the future?
  • SRA Regulatory Reforms – achievable, realistic or beneficial? 22 May, 2014 - The SRA has put forward a number of proposals as to changes to the way in which it believes that the profession should be regulated. But are they realistic and are they being steam-rollered through.
  • The new Regulators’ Code – bringing regulators to account? 25 April, 2014 - 6 April saw the coming into effect of the new Regulators’ Code which replaces the previous Regulators’ Compliance Code. Is it likely to make a difference to the way law firms are regulated or is it just government waffle that the regulators will choose to ignore?
  • Regulation of consumer credit activities 25 April, 2014 - The transfer of responsibility for regulating consumer credit activities from the OFT to the FCA means firms previously authorised under the Law Society's group licence are no longer authorised.
  • Managing Complaints – Part III 22 April, 2014 - Here we look at the practical steps to be taken in implementing a complaints policy and provide a draft policy for firms to adapt to their own requirements
  • Managing Complaints – Part II 22 April, 2014 - Firms planning to implement a complaint process within their practice need to give careful thought to the steps that need to be taken.
  • Managing Complaints – Part I 21 March, 2014 - Handling complaints is not always easy and complaints. In the first of three articles we look at the need for complaint handling procedures, the benefits to be derived from it and at the practical and regulatory reasons for having it.
  • Changes to the size of the PII market – the need to be a good risk 30 January, 2014 - The SRA proposal only to allow rated insurers to provide professional indemnity cover to SRA-regulated law firms could leave firms without cover in coming years unless they address those factors which make them unattractive to insurers
  • Residual Client Balances – an unavoidable problem? 28 January, 2014 - No matter how well we manage our practices, our work and most importantly, our client accounts, inevitably there will be cases where we are left with a residual client balance. This article looks at some of the implications from an Accounts Rules perspective and the steps that should be taken.
  • Diversity Data Collection 17 December, 2013 - As the diversity data deadline of 31 January 2014 approaches firms who have not done so should be taking steps to avoid being in breach of the regulations.
  • Giving an Undertaking 25 October, 2013 - Practices need to treat the giving of an undertaking as an important factor within their practice. This article looks at why they are so important.
  • Reporting Material Breaches 17 October, 2013 - what constitutes a material breach for these purposes and when must it be reported? This article looks at the duties to report placed upon the COLP and COFA.
  • Planning for the unexpected – Business Continuity Planning – Pt I 19 July, 2013 - Experience should teach us one thing, if nothing else, and that is to expect the unexpected. That is where Business Continuity Planning comes into play - having in place a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) providing a process whereby, if the unthinkable happens, you can still function effectively as a provider of legal services.
  • Planning for the unexpected – Business Continuity Planning – Pt II 19 July, 2013 - In this, the second of two articles dealing with Business Continuity Planning we look at the steps which you will need to take to implement such a plan and the various considerations to take account of when doing so.
  • Provision of Services Regulations 2 June, 2012 - 1. Introduction The 28th December 2009 saw the coming into force of the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (the Regulations), a set of regulations which apply to…
  • Are you suitable? – the SRA Suitability Test 2011 22 May, 2012 - The SRA has announced that those wishing to restore their name to the roll of solicitors can now do so using form KR4 which is to be found on its website.
  • Provision of information and documents by solicitors 8 December, 2011 - The SRA has long had the power to require a solicitor to produce documents in connection with an investigation. Additions to the Solicitors Act have extended those powers.
  • Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal 29 November, 2011 - The SDT has the power to strike off a solicitor from the roll, suspend a solicitor from practice or fine or reprimand a solicitor. It is essential, therefore, that if you believe that a matter will result in a referral to the SDT that immediate steps to seek assistance are taken.
  • Interventions 28 November, 2011 - An intervention occurs when the Solicitors Regulation Authority makes a decision to close a solicitor's practice with the effect that it is no longer able to act for its clients. This factsheet looks at some of he issues behind and intervention and why it is vital that you obtain advice as a matter of urgency if you are, or suspect you are about to be, intervened in.
  • Dishonesty 23 November, 2011 - Dishonesty is regarded as an extremely serious matter by all regulators and will normally result in disciplinary action being taken and will, if it is proven, almost invariably result in a striking off. This item looks more closely at what constitutes dishonesty.
  • Clarity and Communication 29 March, 2011 - Clarity of charging is essential for a solicitor and no where is the need for this more clearly shown than in the case of Minkin v Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor
  • Finding a new job 20 October, 2010 - Finding a new job is never very easy - especially at present with few firms being able to afford to recruit. This article looks at some of the things you can and should be doing to find work because the more prepared you are the more likely you will be to be successful.
  • Coping with Redundancy 7 October, 2009 - More than ever, redundancy is a feature of today's employment market as firms cast around for a new direction. How you deal with it when it happens could be what defines whether you have a successful future career.
  • The Pitfalls of Partnership 27 April, 2009 - For many young solicitors, the ultimate goal to which to aspire is that of partnership or membership of an LLP. However, as many a duped or defrauded junior partner will testify, careful thought should be given to the move to becoming a partner and appropriate legal and financial advice sought.