Within any industry, small businesses play a fundamental role. Although it is the largest companies and corporations that tend to make the headlines, small enterprises make up the bulk of any sector, and the legal industry is no different. Small solicitor firms and the like perform an absolutely essential role, but sometimes these modestly-proportioned ventures are sidelined. On many occasions, the SRA, the regulatory body for legal firms, has been accused of being indifferent to the fortunes of all but the largest practices, and that’s an image that they are keen to correct.
The SRA and Small Firms
The Law Gazette reports how a good number of small firms feel that the SRA has no concept of the issues that they face, and this is an opinion that is reinforced by the recent measures taken by the SRA with regards to supporting firms that are larger than the norm. These large-scale firms have undoubtedly been the focus over the last four years or so, but now the SRA is doing its best to get to grips with the practicalities of the smaller UK firms.
The Proposed Changes
The SRA defines such firms as having ‘no more than four partners and 10 solicitors in total’ and a ‘turnover of no more than £200,000’, and currently this criteria encompasses some 34% of all legal firms. A number of pledges relating to the regulation of small law firms have been proposed, of which the most notable amendment is probably the dispensing of separate approval and application processes. In a significant development, the SRA has raised the possibility of filing all details of the COLP and COFA in tandem with authorisation application, although this is subject to approval.
Help for Start-Ups
SRA chief executive Paul Philip has declared his intention to make it easier for start-ups to get off the ground, and a new regulation pack will be targeted at such firms in the very near future. However, the SRA will not be any more lenient with such firms with regards to compliance, so if you’re involved with a start-up venture and need some guidance, we recommend that you get in touch with the experts here at Enderley Consulting.
From Lexcel consultants to help you stand out from the crowd, to a CQS service to assuage the issues faced by the conveyancing sector, our legal consultants can meet your every need. If you’d like to find out more about our services, please don’t hesitate to contact our professional team by calling 01939 262502 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t leave compliance to chance; get in touch and we’ll soon streamline your practice.