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Team moves – covenants?

To what extent can a firm protect itself against a ‘team departure’?

There will undoubtedly be duties owed to the departing partners that are set out in the partnership (or LLP) agreement. In addition there may well be fiduciary duties of good faith and fidelity implied by law. But, it is the restrictive covenants that are likely to be the main focus of attention.

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Law firm – closure

The options for a solicitor wanting to retire (or simply to give up legal practice) are: closure; sale of all or parts to another firm; internal acquisition by a solicitor; creating an ABS to enable a non-lawyer to own the business; or external parties agreeing to buy and operate the firm under its current name.

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Solicitors Journal – demise

The oldest legal journal is (or was) the Solicitors Journal.

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Professional – update

The economy may have stood still in recent years, but that has not stopped the solicitor profession growing in size: there are now 140,000 (an increase of 15,000 in the last five years!). It does seem an unsupportable growth rate [2017] LSG 23 October 1.

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SRA – principles, not rules

The SRA has a new focus on ‘principles’ and ‘professional judgement’, as opposed to ‘rules’.   

Inevitably, a principles-based approach is more uncertain than a rules-based approach, and it is therefore more important for firms to have a recorded set of strong systems and controls which are implemented consistently across the firm.  

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Professional – update

Spare a thought for the hapless staff of the UK arm of Slater and Gordon, which has been spun off and is now wholly owned by international hedge funds (although it will continue to trade as Slater and Gordon). Certainly, it is a sad end to a saga that started with the takeover of Russell Jones & Walker in 2012. [2017] LSG 4 September 3.  

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Conflict of interest – White & Case

White & Case has been fined £250,000(!) by the SDT for conflict breaches.

Apart from the massive sums involved, the case does raise considerable concerns for practitioners.  

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Professional – update

The SRA has changed its mind and decided that it is now favouring mandatory price publishing by firms on their websites. Trials will take place (conveyancing is the most likely candidate for this). [2017] LSG 3 July 1.

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PII – SRA?

There is no doubt that many solicitors feel Leigh Day has been harshly treated by the SRA in its disastrous attempt to bring 19 charges before the SDT over the firm’s Iraqi claims.

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SIF – closes 2020!

Apparently, only one-third of all solicitors are aware that the Solicitors Indemnity Fund closes in 2020.

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