Simmons & Simmons is to open an office in Bristol in a bid to slash its fee rates. According to managing partner Jeremy Hoyland, the office, which is slated for an autumn launch, will handle “complex legal work” where “location is not an issue for clients”.
Read more: http://www.thelawyer.com/1012073.article
Employment tribunal shake up will help business growth. From April 6, 2012 a number of employment tribunal changes will come into force. These include: the qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal rising from one year to two; judges being able to sit alone in unfair dismissal cases; witness statements being provided in writing; and the level of costs awarded to businesses winning a vexatious tribunal claim rising to GBP 20,000.
Cost of legal services continues to rise – as does number of people going it alone without lawyers. The continued rise in the cost of legal services at a time when consumer wealth has fallen could be putting people off seeking legal advice, new research has suggested.
The Legal Services Board (LSB) report found evidence that legal fees have risen at or above the consumer prices index (CPI) over the past five years, while at the same time more consumers are going ahead without lawyers in areas such as probate and trademark applications.
Rocket Lawyer ramps up ahead of UK launch. Rocket Lawyer, the Google-backed US online legal document service, has taken the next step in its plans to launch in the UK this year by opening a London office and recruiting a senior member of the LexisNexis team to lead it.
Top chambers and law centre throw weight behind pioneering webcam legal service. St Philips Chambers has joined forces with Instant Law UK to launch a library-based video-conferencing service. It claims to be the country’s first interactive, online debt and employment law service, in conjunction with a London law centre. The service is available in Marylebone Public Library and Birmingham Central Library and a further 10 libraries in the Birmingham City Council area are expected to follow.
Source: Legal Futures. April 11, 2012
Interpreting error leads to £25,000 retrial costs. During the trial for burglary, which started at Snaresbrook Crown Court last Tuesday (10 April), a Romanian-speaking defendant was interpreted as saying that they had been “bitten” by the claimant. It was only on Friday during cross-examination when the defendant was asked to produce photographic evidence of the bite mark that the error was revealed. The claimant had in fact said that they had been “beaten”. Once the mistake was out, the interpreter admitted on the spot that they had realised the error at the time but did not mention it to the court.
Read more: http://www.thelawyer.com/1012204.article
Law college bought with promise of places for all. Montagu Private Equity has bought the College of Law for GBP 200 million in the first major investment in the legal education market by private equity. The deal will see the college’s legal education and training business spilt from its charitable activities. A new Legal Education Foundation will also be created from the proceeds of the sale, generating up to GBP 7 million a year in bursaries, grants and scholarships.
Source: Times, April 18, 2012, 36.
RBS: legal profession carrying thousands of excess solicitor jobs. More than 5,000 solicitor jobs in the UK would need to go to deal with substantial over-capacity in the legal market, according to a new report by one of the leading law firm bankers.
Read more: http://www.legalweek.com/legal-week/news/2161518/rbs-legal-profession-carrying-thousands-excess-solicitor-jobs?WT.rss_f=&WT.rss_a=RBS%3A+legal+profession+carrying+thousands+of+excess+solicitor+jobs
A regulation chief has warned the UK’s biggest commercial firms that they are ‘deluded’ to think alternative business structures will not affect them. Solicitors Regulation Authority chairman Charles Plant told the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers conference on Friday that no firm could assume they would be immune from the impact of the new ownership model. ‘For those firms and businesses who say they have no interest I say you’re looking through the wrong end of the telescope,’ he said.