The Practical Lawyer


SRA – accountant’s report

The exemption from having to obtain an accountant’s report requires firms to assess at the end of the accounting period whether (i) the average (at least five-weekly) balance of client money they have held or received is less than, or equal to, £10,000, and (ii) the maximum aggregated total of client money held or received is less than, or equal to, £250,000.
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LLP – repudiatory breach?

The High Court has held that the concept of repudiatory breach does not apply to an LLP agreement. 

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Privilege – ‘legal professional’

A reminder of some of the basic rules on when legal professional privilege applies:
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Cyber fraud – Ms Mackie

The heart-rending case of solicitor Karen Mackie has received considerable publicity. But, for those who believe cyber fraud could not happen to them, it is worth repeating the facts.

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Cyber-fraud – precautions

Some 50 law firms have been subjected to cyber fraud in 2015 (apparently involving £50m, with one attack being for £1.9m).

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Accounts – residual balances

’Client money must be returned to the client… as soon as there is no longer any proper reason to retain those funds’ (Accounts Rule 14.3).

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Lobbying – register

Anyone – including law firms – who lobbies ministers must register under the Transparency of Lobbying etc Act 2014.

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Retainer – identifying

It is always important to (i) identify the correct client, and (ii) identify the proper scope of the retainer.

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Client account – not a bank facility

The Law Society issued guidance on 18 December 2014 on improper use of client accounts as banking facilities for clients. Needless to say, that is not what client accounts are for and the use of them for such purposes risks law firms being involved in financial crime and the evasion of insolvency processes. 

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Professional – update

Legal Marketing Services is a conveyancing outsourcer which claims to promote a ‘more responsible’ approach to panel selections for lenders. Several of the larger lenders have joined up with LMS and the result has been new restrictions on conveyancing panels (in particular, firms must have had at least 120 purchases in the last 12 months). 

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