Solicitors and Law Firms

The dramatic increase in the regulatory burdens placed on solicitors and law firms has led to an upturn in their need to access external advice on their obligations and how best to respond when things go wrong. Lawyers no longer seek legal advice solely for the purpose of defending proceedings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal; our clients now require advice on when to report a matter to the SRA, how to comply with the SRA Handbook, business structures, insolvency, internal investigations and SRA investigations.

Kingsley Napley has extensive experience in assisting solicitors and law firms in dealing with regulatory issues. Our legal services regulatory team consistently carries a substantial caseload in this area.  The team is led by Iain Miller and Julie Norris together with support from other members of the regulatory team and the wider firm. Iain Miller has specialised in this area for over 20 years. Over that time he has advised almost all the legal services regulators, advised firm and individual solicitors and acted in relation to over 100 cases in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal as well as acting on appeals and other litigation involving solicitors. He is General Editor of the leading textbook on legal services regulation: Cordery on Legal Services. Julie Norris regularly advises solicitors and law firms on self-referral obligations and specialises in the provision of advice at the early stages of SRA investigations, including attendance at SRA interviews; providing advice designed to mitigate the reputational risks associated with disciplinary or regulatory disposals.  

Our work in this area sits alongside our advice to legal services regulators both in England and Wales and internationally.

How can we help?

strategic advice on business structures

Business structures for firms that are seeking to establish in England and Wales or are considering changing their practice structure to an alternative business structure.  This includes strategic advice on how best to structure the business through to applications for authorisation;

 

regulatory due diligence

Regulatory due diligence for those seeking to acquire or invest in a law firm.  Just like any other business those investing in a regulated legal services provider will need advice on the regulatory issues and any risks they may present;

 

ethical advice

It is sometimes the case that firms and individuals will need to make difficult choices around their duties to their clients, the courts, and the wider public interest.  There may be no right answer.  We can offer independent authoritative advice;

 

Internal investigations and reports  

In even the best run law firms things go wrong.  Responding properly to these challenges can minimise reputational and regulatory risks.  We can help you get to the bottom of what went wrong, advise how to put it right and learn lessons for the future;

 

reporting obligations to the sra

Advice on whether a matter should be reported to the SRA and drafting notifications.  It is not always clear as to whether a matter needs to be reported to the SRA and if it does how this should be done.  We can provide independent assistance to guide you through the process;

 

law firm restructuring and insolvency

Advice on the regulatory aspects of the restructuring and insolvency of law firms.  We have experience in relation to the administrations of Halliwells LLP, Dewy & LeBeouf, Manches LLP, Cobbetts LLP and Davenport Lyons;

 

sra investigations for firms and individuals

Representing firms and individuals involved in SRA investigations.  Being the subject of an SRA investigation is hugely stressful.  We have extensive experience on both sides of such investigations and can help in achieving the best possible outcome;

 

solicitors disciplinary tribunal defence

Defending individuals and firms before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and the High Court. The team has over 20 years’ experience and is able to support firms and individuals through the process.

 

 Click here to read our Covid-19
FAQs for working remotely and
the supervision of trainee solicitors
  >

 Click here to read our Covid-19 FAQs for working remotely and
the supervision of trainee solicitors
  >

 Click here to see guidance and updates for regulated legal professionals during Covid-19
>  

The firm has strength in depth. It benefits from a stable of very effective and hard-working lawyers and a leadership team who are not afraid to innovate"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession,  2017

 

Latest blogs & news

Harcus Sinclair v Your Lawyers - Another nail in the coffin of solicitors’ undertakings?

Every solicitor knows that an undertaking is serious stuff.   Arguably it is the greatest power available to a solicitor.  A promise, if broken, that will lead to immediate and serious consequences for the giver.  As such it can be relied upon to the ends of the earth.  The power of undertakings has meant that they sit at the heart of every property transaction, bridging the time gap between the sending of money and the receiving of title.  They are also used in other areas of commercial life and as part of litigation.  The “brand” of a solicitor’s undertaking is so powerful that little thought is given as to where their power comes from. 

Ethical imperatives

Julie Norris and Jessica Clay consider SRA entity regulation and the imperative to create an ethical (ergo, compliant) legal workplace.

All well and good

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of good mental health and resilience both in and out of the office. Bronwen Still and Lucinda Soon consider your obligations

More clarity needed from the SRA on boundaries concerning sexual misconduct and harassment in law firms

The solicitors’ watchdog is right to take charge of misconduct cases but it needs firmer guidance to succeed 

Beckwith v SRA – are there implications for the regulation of professional accountants who face sexual misconduct allegations?

In our fourth blog in our series on Beckwith v Solicitors Regulation Authority [2020] EWHC 3231 (Admin), we turn our attention to consider what impact, if any, this landmark decision might have on the regulation of professional accountants. While the case turned on some very specific features relating to the regulation of solicitors as contained in the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) Principles and Code of conduct, some parts of the judgment may have more general application.

Post-Beckwith – where to now for sexual misconduct cases?

In the two years preceding Ryan Beckwith’s appeal to the High Court, the SRA pursued a handful of other sexual misconduct cases before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (Tribunal). These cases are varied and fact-specific and include sexual misconduct in and relating to the workplace and conduct outside of work.

Where have we reached on costs in proceedings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal post Beckwith?

Regulatory investigations across all sectors are increasing in complexity, with a corresponding increase in the size of the cost applications made by regulators upon successful prosecution. For solicitors facing investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (‘SRA’), the costs associated with prosecutions before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (‘SDT’) have made the headlines recently for their size. In Beckwith, for example, the Divisional Court referred to the SRA’s costs of c.£340,000 as “alarming.

The SRA’s updated NDA warning notice introduces welcome clarity

On 12 March 2018 the SRA published its warning notice on the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). This was in the wake of the widespread publicity at the time given to NDAs which had been considered too draconian in reach and effect.

The use of artificial intelligence: interesting technological developments in the legal and accountancy sectors

In this second blog in our technology and innovation series, we look at some recent developments in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal and accountancy sectors.

Technology in the accountancy and legal sectors – what are the regulators doing? The long read…

In the first of our Tech blog series, we take a look at how regulators in the accountancy and legal sectors are supporting technological innovation in their respective professional sectors, and how they themselves might adapt their regulatory approach in the new era of digital technology.

The SRA Standards and Regulations – a year on

It has been a year since the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) launched its Standards and Regulations (StaRs) and even longer since the revised Enforcement Strategy was rolled out.  This time last year, we produced a series of blogs relating to launch of the StaRs and provided our views on what we thought you needed to know.

FAQs : The SRA's early character and suitability assessment

The route to obtaining a prestigious job in the legal profession is hard enough without the worry of whether past misdemeanours will prevent you from being admitted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as a solicitor. Convictions or cautions in early life (for even relatively minor offences), student disciplinary findings, civil debts and the like, are all capable of preventing prospective solicitors seeking admission to the roll becoming qualified as a solicitor. Since May 2018, prospective solicitors have had the ability to seek an early character and suitability assessment under the Authorisation of Individuals Regulations,[1] enabling them to understand if something they did in the past could be a bar to entry to the profession.  

Are you getting complacent with compliance?

After months of many solicitors working from home, it's easy to get comfortable. But with complacency comes the risk of non-compliance with your regulatory obligations. Jessica Clay provides a refresher on your duties, the risks involved in remote working, and how you can stay compliant.

Sexual misconduct allegations in law firms are ever-present – following due process is key

As another case involving allegations of sexual misconduct relating to a senior partner of a law firm has been concluded before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal just this week, resulting in the imposition of a £10,000 fine being confirmed on 22 July 2020, it is perhaps safe to say that, for now, there is no sign that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has lost its appetite to investigate and act on reports of this nature that it receives. 

“Regulation beyond the echo chambers”: who is listening?

Professor Stephen Mayson’s ‘Reforming Legal Services: Regulation beyond the echo chambers’ report has now been submitted to the Lord Chancellor as the final product of a two-year independent review into the regulation of legal services in England and Wales.  

Promoting a good working culture in law firms - Part 3: The importance of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives in promoting a good working culture

Julie Norris and Jessica Clay spoke at the end of January 2020 at the ARK risk and compliance conference on the topic of promoting a good working culture in law firms.  This is the final blog in a series of three blogs. It focuses on the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives in promoting a good working culture

Promoting a good working culture in law firms - Part 2: The importance of wellbeing in the workplace

Julie Norris and Jessica Clay spoke at the end of January 2020 at the ARK risk and compliance conference on the topic of promoting a good working culture in law firms.  This blog is the second in a series of three and focuses on the importance of wellbeing in the workplace.

COVID-19: If you get a fixed penalty notice for non-compliance with lockdown measures – do you have to tell the Solicitors Regulation Authority?

With BBC reports that there have been 178,000 incidents of anti-social behaviour in the last four weeks across England and Wales alone, if a solicitor receives a fixed penalty notice for a non-essential journey away from home - do they have to inform the SRA?

Promoting a good working culture in law firms - Part 1: What is a manager's role?

Julie Norris and Jessica Clay spoke at the end of January at the ARK risk and compliance conference on the topic of promoting a good working culture in law firms.  This blog is the first in a series of three and focuses on the role of managers in embedding this culture in the workplace

Law Firms and Solicitors - Knowledge Hub

Law Firms and Solicitors - Knowledge Hub

QUOTED: Towards clarity on reporting obligations

READ MORE

Price Transparency

VIEW OUR BLOGS

QUOTED: Law firms investigated for gagging alleged victims of sexual abuse

READ MORE

Sexual Misconduct in the Workplace

FIND OUT MORE

2019 Standards and Regulations

VIEW OUR BLOGS

VIDEO: We need to talk about Non-Disclosure Agreements

CLICK HERE TO WATCH

Dishonesty and Lack of Integrity

VIEW OUR BLOGS

Reporting Obligations

VIEW OUR BLOGS

Non-Disclosure Agreements

VIEW OUR BLOGS

QUOTED: Price transparency: is it about to eat your lunch?

READ MORE

Sanctions

VIEW OUR BLOGS

Solicitors and Law Firms Insights

View all

Blogs

Harcus Sinclair v Your Lawyers - Another nail in the coffin of solicitors’ undertakings?

The SRA’s updated NDA warning notice introduces welcome clarity

The SRA Standards and Regulations – a year on

FAQs : The SRA's early character and suitability assessment

“Regulation beyond the echo chambers”: who is listening?

Can one regulator investigate conduct associated with a Registrant’s other profession?

Train of thought: The Jackson-Salmond Saga

Guidance and updates for regulated legal professionals during Coronavirus pandemic

Tis’ the season…to comply with your professional obligations

StaRs: Time to prioritise, but not to panic

StaRs: The new ‘freelance’ solicitor: practical aspects and our predictions

Firms need to put legal ethics at the heart of their business

The new Solicitors Accounts Rules: what has changed?

No finding of dishonesty – dispensed with in quick order

StaRs: Stand up and be accountable

StaRs: Reporting concerns - understanding your obligations

Ethics and what’s expected of you

SRA and the regulation of your personal life

Understanding the new SRA Principles and Code: the long read

What will the StaRs mean for you?

Reach for the StaRs!

SRA AML audits: be prepared

SRA to undertake AML audits as enforcers keep focus on “professional enablers”

Changes to the SRA’s Reporting Obligation

SRA Handbook: The 5 changes you need to know about

SRA Price Transparency FAQs

Is it time to re-visit Bolton?

Solicitor challenges SDT’s restrictions on practice successfully

Dealing with sexual allegations in the workplace

Brexit and practising rights for lawyers

Junior Solicitors struck off for dishonesty

SRA Handbook 2019 – Time to start preparing

Dreamvar: innovate to survive

Case analysis: admissions lead to SRA dropping a dishonesty charge

New ethical challenges surrounding gagging orders in the #MeToo era

Think before you tweet - the perils of social media for the legal profession

A useful shorthand: integrity in healthcare regulation Wingate and Evans v Solicitors Regulation Authority; SRA v Malins [2018] EWCA Civ 366

Sexual Misconduct and the Duty to Report to the SRA

SRA v Main: A distinction between upholding the law and breaking the law

No strike-off for dishonest solicitor

Legal Services Regulation in 2018 – 6 things to watch

The Business Case For Legal Ethics

#LSA10 and the future of Legal Services: Artificial Intelligence, cyber-courts, global markets and block chain

#LSA10: The Impact of Alternative Business Structures

#LSA10: Impact of the Legal Services Act on legal education

Supreme Court overrules the Ghosh test - The Implications for Professional Disciplinary Proceedings

#LSA10 10 years: The global impact of the Legal Services Act

#LSA10: The Legal Services Act and Regulatory Bloodlines

#LSA10: Reflecting on 10 years of the Legal Services Act - An Introduction

White & Case fined £250,000: Is this the shape of things to come in Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal cases?

The brave new world of price transparency and what it means for firms

Close Load more

Skip to content Home About Us Insights Services Contact Accessibility