Jackson Reforms: 5 Key Points of Costs Budgets and Precedent H

The Jackson reforms are in place now, but there's still little clarity and much debate about how they'll work in practice. The key word in the Reforms is 'proportionate'. That's what your spending needs to be from now on. And if it's not, then you might pay the price. So it isn't exactly ideal that there's so much controversy surrounding what 'proportionate spending' is. Here is the definition ... Read more

4 Jackson Reforms Traps You Need to Watch Out For

The Jackson Reforms came in to force on 1 April 2013 and, when it comes to costs, they have changed the way you’ll do business forever. But having been so recently introduced, there are bound to be a few teething problems. And there are. Whilst it is likely that all of the reforms will have some effect on the way in which independent lawyers and sole practitioners go about their business, there ... Read more

The 5 Biggest Headaches for Independent Lawyers

Life’s not exactly a bed of roses for independent lawyers and sole practitioners, especially in this economic climate. So we interviewed one hundred of you from across the country to pin point your biggest current challenges. Those insights have been published in The Bellwether Report, and make for some compelling reading. Below is a list of the five biggest headaches picked out by Independent ... Read more

Why Compliance Is Making Outsourcing Unaffordable – and What You Can Do About It

For sole practitioners, outsourcing could seem like the answer to your most pressing issue: Dealing with the tedious day to day of running your business in the minimum time and getting back to what you really want to be doing: Fee-earning work. After all, independent law firms have all the same business admin tasks as a larger firm, but significantly fewer pairs of hands to do them with. Even at ... Read more

4 Embarrassing Financial Secrets The SRA Will Want To Know About Your Firm

We all have secrets we like to keep. Usually because they're embarrassing in some way. Financial difficulties with your business are surely some of the most embarrassing. But the SRA wants to hear them all the same, so sweeping them under the carpet is not an option. You need only tell the SRA about quite serious problems, thankfully. But when you do, you'll also be required to produce a plan for ... Read more

What will the SRA do to you if you don’t have a compliance plan?

Well, probably nothing. There’s nothing in the SRA’s handbook that says you have to have a compliance plan. but... (and please note that’s a very big but) they clearly expect you to have one. At least, judging by a guidance note in the Authorisation Rules they do: "What needs to be covered by a firm’s compliance plan will depend on factors such as size and nature of the firm, its work and its ... Read more

The Zen of Risk Management: Three Simple Steps to SRA Compliance

It’s a risky business practising Law these days. Especially as an independent, a sole practitioner or a smaller firm. Your most recent PII quote probably bears quite eloquent witness to that. It’s even riskier than usual this year, because the SRA has made it crystal clear that it expects you to put risk management at the heart of your business If you don’t, you risk the SRA’s displeasure. You ... Read more

Confessions of a Compliance Failure

You probably have a good idea of what’s going on in your firm - and if there’s any compliance failures. Under the new guidelines, the SRA insists you confess all. But how much should you say - and is honesty always the best policy? What exactly should you report to the SRA? As ever, the SRA hasn’t said much about what they expect, or provided any worked examples. So firms are taking their own ... Read more

Compliance Simplified: What the SRA Really Means By ‘Governance’

The SRA seems to love the word governance. They use it throughout the Handbook, repeatedly - but without clarifying what they actually mean. You must do everything in accordance with proper governance. You must have a clear and effective governance structure. The SRA can refuse to authorise your firm if it is not satisfied that your governance arrangements are adequate. Got it? No, we’re not ... Read more

How to Create a Compliance Plan That Keeps The SRA Happy

The SRA wants to see your Compliance Plan. They've been nice enough to tell us all what they expect to see in it, if you happened to catch the guidance notes to rule 8 of the authorisation notes. In case you didn't, our own rather wonderful Emma Dickin talks to Lizz about what the SRA expects to see, and shares a plan for putting together a Compliance Plan any Law Firm would be proud of. (Video ... Read more