Legal Market Round-up: July 2012

1 comment, posted on July 13, 2012


REUTERS-Athar Hussain

REUTERS-Athar Hussain

The Law Society has welcomed independent survey findings from the Legal Service Consumer Panel (LSCP) which show that consumers are increasingly satisfied with the value for money they receive from solicitors. The survey, undertaken for the LSCP by YouGov also showed that satisfaction with the outcome of work undertaken by solicitors has risen slightly to an impressive 84 per cent.

Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, said: ‘The research suggests that solicitors are responding to the needs of consumers who are feeling the pinch during the double-dip recession, by offering better value for money. It is also reassuring that satisfaction with outcomes of legal work undertaken by solicitors remains so high. This goes to show once again the value of using a solicitor – a qualified, regulated and insured legal professional.’



Aston Carter Solicitors has launched a new training path that requires law graduates to self-fund a £9,500 paralegal training course before they are considered for a training contract. Prospective lawyers have reacted angrily to the scheme, which also requires the completion of “up to 800 hours of practical experience”.

The upside of the Aston Carter scheme is that it sees the firm cover the costs of graduates’ Legal Practice Course (LPC) fees and give them paid work as paralegals while they study. But most lawyers and law students still don’t regard it as an attractive proposition. Peter Wright, a solicitor at Taylor Bracewell, said: “I don’t see the point in paying to do the paralegal course. Why not just pay to do the LPC in the first place?”

Hogan Lovells offers UK students Moscow-based training contract. The top 10 firm has been authorised to take up to six trainees annually to its Moscow office. The first trainee to spend the entirety of their training contract in Russia, Alexandra Dolinskaya, began work in March this year.

Moscow-based partner Richard Cowie said: “Through the introduction of the Moscow training contract Hogan Lovells is responding to the local requirements of our Russia clientele, who are increasingly demanding lawyers who understand their businesses.

“A training contract in Moscow will give trainees hands-on experience in high-profile Russian work, much of which is governed by English law, and will also provide continuity for clients as they will have access to the same on the ground solicitors with whom they worked as trainees.”

The seats being offered are in corporate, capital markets and litigation.


Dragons’ Den star Caan invests in Midlands firm Knights. Midlands firm Knights Solicitors has taken a cash injection from high-profile entrepreneur and former Dragons’ Den investor James Caan’s private equity house in a bid to grow the business into a top-100 UK practice in three years.

The Newcastle under Lyme-based firm, which draws much of its business from work outsourced by City firms, claims the deal with London’s Hamilton Bradshaw (HB) is the UK’s first private investment into a commercial law firm.



Herbert Smith concludes consultation with 43.5 jobs axed. Herbert Smith has completed its redundancy consultation in London, with all lawyers and staff affected taking voluntary redundancy.

The firm today announced that 43.5 full-time equivalent jobs would be cut in London following the consultation. When the firm first announced it was making redundancies in April (30 April 2012) it said that up to 51 jobs were at risk – including 23 fee-earners in corporate and five in real estate – but internal moves and resignations meant it could make fewer cuts.

According to Herbert Smith, all affected fee-earners and staff took voluntary redundancy – which also happened when the firm made 84 redundancies in 2009 (1 June 2009) – and will begin to leave later this month.



Trainees “happy with LPC” but law students want more work experience, says survey. Most trainee solicitors think that the legal practice course (LPC) has prepared them for legal practice, a new survey has shown. The results arguably run contrary to the sentiments coming out of the ongoing Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) that the LPC is not preparing students adequately.

The survey of 206 trainees by graduate recruitment website found that 23% said the LPC prepared them very well, and a further 68% said quite well.

Trainees found getting to grips with IT and filing systems to be two of the more difficult aspects of adjusting to work and said “they would like this to be better covered by the LPC”, the survey reported.

At the same time, it found a “pretty general feeling” that the law degree/graduate diploma in law could have prepared students better for work, with 28% saying it had not done so at all well; however, it did not ask undergraduates whether they thought it should do that.

Researchers also probed the factors behind trainees choosing their firm, with reputation cited as the main reason by 44% – higher than in other sectors. The other key factors were “the people I met during the recruitment process” (24%), the training and development offered (11%), and the type of law practised at the firm (10%).

The survey also highlighted the importance of vacation placements, with 48% having a placement at the firm they ended up joining.


Law Society begins work on creating solicitor comparison website. The Law Society is investigating whether to launch its own solicitor comparison website. The society’s existing “Find a Solicitor” website provides basic information for consumers, but a new site could include more detail on quality, areas of specialism and price. Although the Law Society’s main website is due to be relaunched in 2012, it is unlikely that any comparison site would launch until 2013.

Source: Law Society 


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