The Practical Lawyer

Home
About
CPD
Subscribe
Contact

Freelance solicitors – beware pitfalls

Solicitors are no doubt aware that the SRA is introducing the new standards and regulations from 25 November 2019, which include separate codes of conduct for solicitors and firms. A controversial aspect of the new regime will allow solicitors to do non-reserved work for unauthorised businesses or as a freelancer (subject to some restrictions). The SRA takes the view that more liberal practising rules will enable the public to access legal services more easily. The choices available to solicitors include working as:
 
  • an SRA regulated solicitor within a non-regulated organisation;
  • an SRA freelance solicitor who can provide reserved services; or
  • an SRA regulated freelance solicitor who only offers non-regulated services. 
The Law Society has issued a practice note (11.09.19) for solicitors who propose working in a freelance capacity. While this will no doubt give some welcome flexibility to solicitors, the Law Society points out some of the pitfalls of this model of practice including the importance of ensuring that clients know:
  • that it is the firm holding their money and not the solicitor; 
  • who is doing their work; and
  • the regulatory status of their provider.
Freelancers carrying out unreserved work are advised to obtain insurance. Those carrying out reserved legal services must obtain ‘adequate and appropriate’ professional indemnity insurance cover.

Non-reserved activities include:
  • will writing;
  • most employment law; and
  • providing legal advice.
Reserved activities include:
  • exercising rights of audience;
  • conducting litigation;
  • preparing certain papers relating to probate and conveyancing;
  • acting as a notary; and
  • administering oaths.
The Law Society’s concern is that the public will not fully understand the different modes of practice. The current system has the benefit of simplicity and full protection for the client in the guise of the compensation fund. Clients will need to understand that this range of protection may not be available in the future. It reminds solicitors who want to become freelance that the practice note is ‘essential reading’. See www.lawsociety.org.uk.

 

Most-read articles

Inheritance claims – interim payments
Wednesday, 09 October 2019
When can the court exercise its statutory power to award interim payments to a claimant under the Inheritance Act? This issue rarely comes before the court and the author of this article highlights... Read more...
Refund entitlement – taxable amount not reduced
Wednesday, 09 October 2019
In their monthly VAT update, EY report on a case that will be interesting to lawyers as the facts involved an SDLT avoidance scheme (perhaps unsurprisingly, the four companies involved are in... Read more...
Costs – challenge promptly
Friday, 04 October 2019
Litigation solicitors will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief to note that a costs judge has refused a claimant’s application to challenge a solicitor’s bill that was agreed and approved over four... Read more...
Serving overseas – check the rules
Friday, 04 October 2019
 It might sound obvious, but if a firm is instructed to serve proceedings overseas, the firm must ensure that the rules of service in the relevant country are properly observed. The CA recently... Read more...
Pet rent – permissible
Friday, 04 October 2019
The excellent Pain Smith blog reminds us about the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (which we reported on in our previous editions – March 2019 (p27) and May 2019 (p28)). The Act outlaws letting fees paid by... Read more...
Brexit frustration – update
Friday, 04 October 2019
We reported in our April 2019 edition (p27) on the interesting case where the HC had to consider whether potential departure by the UK from the EU was sufficient to satisfy the legal meaning of... Read more...
Fixtures – what passes on sale of land?
Friday, 04 October 2019
Property lawyers will recall their land law, which states that fixtures can pass on the sale of land but fittings do not. This can be seen as an archaic distinction – but a recent HC case has... Read more...
Parents – gender
Thursday, 03 October 2019
 A definition of the term ‘mother’ has been established for the first time under English common law in a landmark case. At issue was: where a person born female who has undergone gender... Read more...
Drugs and alcohol – managing in the workplace
Thursday, 03 October 2019
An interesting article reminds employers to review their drugs and alcohol policies and breaches of them in the light of recent developments. Businesses are increasingly expected to support employees... Read more...
Terrorism – notice of detention
Thursday, 03 October 2019
A revised notice of detention which examining officers must provide to someone detained under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 has been published by the government. The notice gives information... Read more...

Resources

IAG International
Join the IBA now!
www.totallylegal.com
MSI Global Alliance
In House Lawyer