Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Risk Roundup UK Edition: Top 2010 Trends, Pending Negligence Claims & More

Several interesting UK-focused links and resources to share:
  • 2010-in-Review: Legal Futures presents a three-part summary of key issues and trends in the UK legal market, with summaries of 2010 developments in: alternative business structures, scope of powers of the Legal Services Board, changes to Solicitors Regulation Authority handbook and outcomes-focused regulation, indemnity insurance, outsourcing risk, and other topics. Details on their web site: [Part 1], [Part 2], [Part 3]
  • A month-by-month review of general UK legal market trends is also available via The Lawyer.
  • Alternative Business Structures: A key topic of discussion and interest in 2010, a framework for non-lawyers to have ownership stakes in law firms continues to progress. The SRA is presently identifying several "trial firms" to run through its application process, before it's formally launched later this year. Even this pre-process is not without controversy: "...one partner at a City firm complained that those taking part will be ahead of the pack and have an unfair advantage.'"
  • Malpractice & Insurance Trends: LF also reports that according to one insurance broker (Lockton): "Solicitors are facing 'bumper' years of claims for professional negligence as recession-driven legal actions start to bite." But as mentioned in the article and highlighted by The Lawyer, these lawsuits carry risks for those that bring them as well.
  • Tying together the themes of negligence and alternative business structures, comes a dispute between the SRA and LSB regarding the appropriate cap for misconduct or non-compliance by alternative business structures. The LSB has proposed a cap of £150m, which the SRA disagrees with in all cases, noting: "If the intention is that the maximum figure cover all possible scenarios, then this should take into account the fact that the market could change dramatically."

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