The Law Society
February 2018 Newsletter: the latest Law Society update for the North.
Junior Lawyers Division Leeds: Why not get involved?
Early advice campaign: write to your MP about reintroducing legal aid for early advice
Update from President of The Law Society: for local law society members: 12 February 2018
Presidents’ and secretaries’ conference 2018: 11 and 12 May at Chancery Lane.
Described as useful, engaging and inspiring by those who attended last year’s event, the 2018 conference will provide sessions on:
• cybersecurity and GDPR
• committee contributions and challenges
• current and future policy developments
• developing your social media presence
• opening the doors to the profession; solicitor only versus other legal professionals
• technology platforms; communicating with members effectively
• twinning with academic institutions; the benefits to local law societies
Criminal defence fees: Concerns over the sustainability of the fragile criminal legal aid sector in England and Wales have forced us to prepare to launch a High Court challenge against cuts to criminal defence fees.
How fraudsters almost extorted €500,000, using only emails and phone calls
“Criminals have access to your calendar, to all kinds of different information and you have no clue that this is happening.” Carole Gratzmuller, company president, was out of the office on the Friday morning her accountant’s phone rang.
Legal and Regulatory policy update: Implementing the Insurance Distribution Directive
We submitted a response to the SRA’s consultation. We share the SRA’s view the new legislation is likely to impact practitioners that carry on insurance distribution activities, in particular those involved in personal injury, conveyancing and probate. We strongly recommend the SRA publishes guidance for the profession that will assist the profession in implementing the Insurance Directive.
Two things small firms can do to improve their cyber security
Cybersecurity is all very well for large firms with big budgets, but what can you do if your resources are more limited? Neil Ford explains how you can make yourself safer without breaking the bank and taking up valuable working hours.
Proposals to extend court opening hours is postponed
The decision to delay a government pilot trialling extended court opening hours has been postponed until February 2018. The proposal which would have heaped additional pressure on the already fragile criminal legal aid service was welcomed. Read the press release here.
Capturing Technological Innovation in Legal Services offers insights from those on the front line of technological change and reveals a legal sector that is increasingly engaging with advanced automation. It also introduces the possibility of combining machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) with the skills held by the profession to engage with complex legal concepts.
There are obstacles to innovation in the legal sector: while three-quarters of firms surveyed agreed that innovation is critical to exploiting opportunities and standing our from the crowd, more than half said they were likely to wait for others to pioneer new technologies.
However, there are still a large number of innovators in the legal sector who are eager to promote a revolution in the way legal services are delivered. The legal sector is brimming with innovators looking for the next opportunity, or going out and creating that next opportunity for themselves.
The report details the products, processes and strategies we use where technology and new ways of thinking and working are making big changes. From Bitcoin, machine learning and ‘lawyers on demand’, we see solicitors taking advantage of new opportunities to reshape the legal services sector.
What the General Election means for the legal sector
With the surprise calling of a General Election we explore what it means for the legal sector.
When Parliament is dissolved on 3 May, many of the Bills currently going through will not make it through the full legislative programme in time. Specifically, the Prisons and Courts Bill which includes measures on online courts, stops cross examination of vulnerable victims in certain family cases and reforms to whiplash. These will be shelved. If the Conservatives win the general election the Bill is likely to be reintroduced but will start its passage through Parliament from the beginning.
The Queen’s Speech was also to take place in May, however this will now be postponed until after the election when the new Government will set out its legislative priorities.
Plans for the Lord Chancellor to lay a post-legislative memorandum on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) to the Justice Select Committee are also likely to be stalled as the civil service goes into ‘purdah’. If the Conservative Government is returned then the review is likely to take place under a revised timeline. We may s
ee other parties commit to a review of the LASPO in their manifestoes and Labour may fast-track some of the conclusions emerging from Lord Bach’s Access to Justice Commission.
Read the article in full here
The Law Society’s priorities – they need your help
Following the announcement of the General Election on 8th June, they have identified a set of priorities that the next government should consider to maintain the integrity of our jurisdiction, remove barriers to justice and uphold the rule of law.
They are calling on the new Government to ensure:
The Law Society looks forward to working in partnership with the next government and with all political parties on these issues.
The Law Society has published guidance for solicitors to help them adapt to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) new learning and development regime, known as ‘Continuing Competence’.
The guidance has been issued in the form of frequently asked questions and has been prepared to help solicitors comply with the SRA’s new requirements.
Continuing Competence was introduced by the SRA in April 2015 to replace the existing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme.
Under the new system there is no requirement for solicitors to attend courses, or to complete a set number of CPD hours. Anything that is done to address learning needs can now count towards a solicitor’s continuing competence.
Solicitors in England and Wales can choose to move to the new scheme at any time, but all practitioners must have made the transition before 1 November 2016.