Month: September 2020

Internet is ever more powerful when finding a solicitor

first_imgNewly published ComRes research on how the public perceives solicitors has much to tell the SRA about its communication priorities. Most people still haven’t a clue who regulates solicitors and even those who think they know are more likely than not to be wrong. Some 19% think it’s the government and only 9% think it’s the SRA – the same percentage as cited the ‘Law Society’. The report should also be required reading for law firm marketeers. We have occasionally been accused of overstating the importance of the internet in this regard, but here it is in black and white and from an unimpeachable source. Some 26% of people say they would be most likely to conduct an internet search to find a solicitor, the same percentage who cite using their existing family lawyer and fractionally more than the proportion who would ask for a recommendation. Amazingly, the ‘telephone directory’ still ranks top with 27%, but rest assured it won’t for much longer. Advertising was cited by just 1%, by contrast, and even the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (which ranked highly when considering who to complain to) scored a lowly 4%. How recently have you reviewed your firm’s web communication strategy? The most common client complaints, meanwhile, relate to ‘time taken’, about which only so much can be done. However, 40% cited lack of communication, about which a great deal can be done. Do keep in touch, as they say.last_img read more

Chancery Lane drive to promote high street solicitors

first_imgThe Law Society is to launch a £250,000 advertising campaign to promote high street solicitors next week. The latest campaign, which takes a Beatles theme with the strapline ‘Help, I need somebody’, will be featured in the print media and on posters in more than 200 stations, with 100 million ‘opportunities to view’. The adverts will promote the use of qualified solicitors for work including wills, divorce, mediation and conveyancing, and will run across England and Wales, with some adverts in Welsh. As well as the posters, which will be freely available to solicitors, the Law Society press office is also offering template press releases and advice on how to ‘piggy back’ on the campaign. The Law Society’s website also features a number of customer guides which solicitors can download and give to prospective clients. Law Society chief executive Des Hudson said: ‘There will be a £300,000 commercial outlay. We are building a brand in the consumer market, and you have to do that on a consistent basis. ‘When there is a choice between a solicitor, who is trained and regulated, rather than, for example, an unregulated will writer, we need to show where the value lies.’ The campaign will run from 21 September to 30 October and has been timed to coincide with the digital release of the Beatles’ albums in a bid to gain maximum publicity. The Law Society’s last campaign ran for two months from April 2008. The Law Society press office can be contacted at [email protected]last_img read more

Calls for major reform to law training

first_imgPressure mounted for sweeping reform of the education and training of lawyers this week, as regulators announced a root-and-branch review of the current framework. The review was unveiled as research seen by the Gazette suggested that there are currently three times more final-year law students who want to become solicitors than there are places available. Another study this week recommended the abolition of the training contract. Last week, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Bar Standards Board and the Institute of Legal Executives announced a joint review of legal training and education. The review will examine whether the current framework will be fit for purpose when the Legal Services Act is fully implemented to allow alternative business structures next year. It will encompass the pathways to qualification, continuing professional development requirements and the regulation of legal education providers. The Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) called on the three regulators to ensure that the review addresses the current oversupply of Legal Practice Course graduates and backlog of students still searching for training contracts. JLD executive committee member Kevin Poulter said the review should also assess whether the LPC course is fit for purpose and value for money. David Edmonds, chair of the Legal Services Board, the overarching regulator which has overseen the review’s agenda, said no part of the ‘student journey’ should be off limits if the review is to be a ‘genuine watershed’. He said the exercise must lead to ‘concrete recommendations’ for change, with conclusions beginning to emerge next year. In an indication of what may be contained in the proposals, Edmonds added that the time prospective lawyers have to spend in education should diminish, which could reduce student debt. Diane Lawson, SRA interim head of education and training, said that ‘proportionate regulation’ would be high among the review’s priorities. ‘If SRA regulation is needlessly adding to the cost of entering the profession, then we will look for a remedy,’ she said. In an early bid to influence the review, the College of Law’s Legal Services Policy Institute published a report recommending that training contracts be scrapped, with the LPC course becoming the new gateway to the profession. It said there should be a new type of law degree specifically tailored for those who intend to enter the practising profession, which would be more relevant to the vocational stages of legal training. Reserved legal activities such as probate and litigation should become subject to separate authorisation after qualification, it suggested. Meanwhile, responses from 10,000 law students in a study by careers information website allaboutlaw.co.uk indicated that 50% will seek to qualify as solicitors. The careers service said that, based on the current training contract levels, there are likely to be three times more students seeking places this year than the number ­available.last_img read more

SRA braced for ABS interest from abroad

first_imgThe SRA has been told to prepare for increasing interest from non-English law firms following the introduction of alternative business structures.The regulator has already received expressions of interest in ABS investment from outside of the UK, including from firms which want to use the ABS structure outside this jurisdiction.A report compiled jointly by Alison Hook, former head of international at the Law Society, and SRA head of standards Richard Collins, concluded the regulator will need to be ready for the influx of interest from abroad.International dimensions should be factored into all aspects of the SRA’s work, whilst the work of the SRA’s risk centre should be built with international considerations from the start, the report said.The report, to be presented to the SRA board next week, said: ‘Clearly the SRA already has much on its plate and is certainly not in a position to launch major new initiatives.‘However, its ability to establish itself as a credible regulator means that it must recognise the fact that a large proportion of the business of its regulated community takes place outside England and Wales, nor should it be satisfied that its existing processes or knowledge base are robust enough for the increasingly globalised environment in which it finds itself.’The regulator is encouraged to establish working relationships with foreign jurisdictions and create vetting processes for foreign lawyers that are at least as comprehensive as those for domestic solicitors.There are currently almost 1,500 registered foreign lawyers regulated by the SRA, nearly two-thirds of which are from the USA, most working in large firms.More than 3,200 European practitioners have re-qualified as English solicitors, and two-fifths of them are based in England and Wales.last_img read more

One night in Baghdad

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Things to come

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The very idea!

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Smear campaign

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Send the academics on site

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How to survive… decorations

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