Lexis Nexis Bellwether report on regulatory changes affecting solicitors was published today and senior partner, Katherine Rayden was delighted to be invited to be part of this important round table discussion. Just months away, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) changes will affect the profession as a whole. The Bellwether report highlights that almost two-thirds of law firms believe they are facing rough times ahead and half of respondents were not aware of the forthcoming changes at all.
Katherine believes that the role of the SRA in law firm regulation is divisive and relations between the SRA and solicitors are troubled, saying “as a newish law firm, I like to think I’m embracing new ideas but I’m very despondent about the SRA.”. This is backed up by statistics showing that 58% of law firms believe that the SRA is representing their interests badly.
In answer to a question on whether the SRA understands the work of independent law firms well enough to regulate them effectively, Katherine commented, “I’m quite surprised by even the question, do lawyers think they’re represented by the SRA. I feel that my views are totally worthless on this point because I feel that they consider they know far more than I do about what a solicitor should be – they’re not solicitors and they don’t respect any of the views of the solicitors on any subject.”
The forthcoming changes were published as part of the SRA’s Looking to the Future programme and include enabling solicitors to provide non-reserved legal activities to clients outside of the framework of a regulated law firm and developing a searchable registry of all solicitors and law firms in England and Wales. From December 2018, all regulated law firms will be required to publish information on the prices they charge and what they cover in relation to the following areas of law: conveyancing, probate, motoring offences, some employment tribunal claims and immigrations (excluding asylum).
The Bellwether Report 2018: Discussion Paper – Dangerous Allegiance to the Status Quo? Is available for download now here.