The ongoing #MeToo saga within in the legal profession was only a few chapters old last year when our annual risk and professional indemnity report with broker Marsh went to press. Fast forward a year and law firm risk managers and general counsel (GCs) are faced with a harsher environment to navigate on many fronts. Not least is the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)’s tougher stance on sexual misconduct allegations and calls for firms to have better procedures in place for handling internal complaints, as laid out in the regulator’s new Standards and Regulations (StaRs) rulebook last September.
As Stephen Morton, senior vice-president for professional risks at Marsh, observes: ‘It is striking how human the risks are now, compared to ten years ago after the financial crash when [they] were very much measured against loss strategies. There has been a shift to realising that the legal profession is fundamentally built on people.’ Continue reading “Risk management survey 2020 – Crooked timber”
Junior barristers have heavily criticised the government’s self-employed support package as ‘woefully insufficient’ while imploring the Bar Council to address ‘urgent and serious concerns’ about the scheme.
The open letter, published today (30 March), says the government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme announced last Thursday neglects newly-qualified barristers as it does not provide financial aid to those without 2018/19 self-employed tax returns that accurately reflect their current earnings. Continue reading “Junior barristers blast the government’s ‘woefully insufficient’ self-employed support package”
Courts in England and Wales have made changes to their practices as the Lord Chief Justice joins those dismissing claims the courts can operate as normal as the spread of coronavirus widens.
The justice minister Chris Philip said this week courts would be ‘operating as normal’ despite guidance from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning people to avoid unnecessary journeys and to work from home where possible. Continue reading “‘Under-funded and ill-served’ courts face pressure to adapt as coronavirus hits the justice system”
Amid growing economic uncertainty, Treasury today (11 March) announced a budget looking to reassure businesses as coronavirus fears continue to rise and law firm partners brace for a slowdown.
The budget comes as early optimism for 2020 has turned to anxiety among major law firms, with clients become increasingly impacted by the global outbreak of coronavirus. Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a £30bn package to help tackle the virus, which included the abolition of business rates for small businesses and a £1bn government-backed loan scheme. Continue reading “‘Not ingredients for activity’: Treasury reveals fiscal stimulus to battle coronavirus slump”
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has decided not to appeal the sanctions handed to former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer restructuring partner Ryan Beckwith by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) for misconduct last October.
The decision brings to a close a long-running and uncomfortable saga for the Magic Circle firm after Beckwith’s sexual activity with a junior member of his team was found to be in breach of principles two and six of the solicitors’ code of conduct, requiring solicitors to ‘act with integrity’ and ‘behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services’. Continue reading “#MeToo: SRA decides against Freshfields’ Beckwith misconduct sanctions appeal”
The American Bar Association (ABA) suggested yesterday (17 February) that American states consider ‘innovative approaches to the access to justice crisis’ before quickly facing resistance from influential state bars strongly opposed to alternative business structures (ABSs).
The recommendation came through a resolution proposed before a meeting of the ABA’s biannual ruling House of Delegates in Austin, Texas. The original resolution encouraged bars to gather data to assess regulatory innovations to ensure changes that are effective in increasing access to legal services. Continue reading “Down this road before: State bars fiercely oppose ABA’s US innovation push”
Firefighters were called out to The Law Society’s headquarters over the weekend after a major fire broke out, damaging the historic building late on Saturday, 1 February.
The fire was brought under control early on Sunday, with no injuries sustained as a result. The alarm was sounded on Saturday night after the annual Junior Society dinner was held at the premises, 113 and 114 Chancery Lane in central London. Continue reading “‘Deeply upset’: Law Society’s historic HQ suffers damage after outbreak of major fire”
Solicitors in England and Wales received a glowing review in a new survey of legal needs but evidence of gaps in access to justice shows the profession has a perception problem.
The survey – the largest legal needs survey of its kind – was conducted by the Legal Services Board and Law Society using data collected by YouGov covering the experiences of 28,633 people. Solicitors ranked highest for service satisfaction, with nine out of 10 people who had used a solicitor satisfied with the service they received, while 84% believed the solicitor provided value for money. Continue reading “Lawyers rank top for satisfaction, value for money, but access to justice gaps persist”