We are committed to helping current providers of legal services develop their businesses in new ways and to supporting new types of organisations who are thinking of delivering legal services for the first time.
If you have been thinking of a new way to serve your clients and run your organisation or have an idea but are not sure whether regulation could stop it getting off the ground, these pages are here to show how we can support you.
SRA Innovate is open to existing firms and new entrants, alternative business structures (ABS) and traditional law firms.
Do you have a new idea about delivering legal services?
We want to do more to encourage innovate services, delivered in new ways, that will benefit the public.
We are already helping law firms to grow and run their businesses in creative ways. This includes:
We have also created an Innovation Space which lets you explore new ways of running your business and introducing original ideas. This is a 'safe space' is for existing firms, as well as new entrants to the legal services market. It lets you test out ideas that are likely to benefit the public in a controlled way.
If you think this might work for you, a good place to start is to consider the following:
- How will your proposal lead to significantly different way of delivering legal services?
- Does your idea work with our proposed regulatory reforms? Are you sure that the innovation does not breach legislative requirements?
- Have you consider how to protect your clients - existing and potential?
- Is your idea developed enough to start providing the new products, services or ways of working?
Tell us your business idea and see if we can help make it become a reality.
SRA Innovate Educate
SRA Innovate Educate is committed to helping providers of legal education develop their professional legal education and training in new ways, and to supporting new types of providers who are thinking of offering legal education courses for the first time. Read more
Looking to the future and Special Bodies
We want to do more to allow greater flexibility for solicitors and freedom for firms to innovate, compete and grow. This will help improve access to quality services at affordable prices. Our consultation Looking to the future explores how we can provide a framework for all bodies delivering reserved legal services. This includes charities and not for profit organisations that are classed as "Special Bodies". Under transitional arrangements, these bodies are entitled to carry out reserved legal activities without being authorised to do so by a legal services regulator.
We want to collaborate with special bodies to develop an approach where if regulated by us in the future, we would only directly oversee the solicitor services that special bodies provide.
We are also keen to speak to any special bodies that wish to explore being authorised and regulated by us now. This may be, for example, because they see benefits in being able to show that they uphold the same standards as other types of organisations entitled to deliver reserved legal activities to the public. Or to be ahead of the game should existing transitional arrangements be brought to an end at some point in the future
Our SRA Innovate work aims to support anyone who wishes to provide legal services in new ways to benefit consumers.
We are open for business and, as the information on these pages show, we can offer a flexible approach to regulation that recognises the special circumstances of organisations operating successfully outside the for-profit sector.
Supporting new business models
We are now in a position where we can authorise new models efficiently and effectively:
- Multi-disciplinary practices (MDPs) – Last year we reformed our regulation to make it simpler for MDPs to be licensed to provide legal services under SRA regulation. These measures ensure proportionate regulation where firms deliver a range of professional services under the oversight of a number of regulators. For more information, please see our MDP policy statement.
- Separate business rule – On 1 November 2015, we made amendments to the separate business rule; the changes enable solicitors to offer other professional services. For more information, please see our guidance.
An open door to innovation, presentation slides (PDF 16 pages, 584K)
Innovation a risky business? presentation slides (PDF 14 pages, 522K)
All change - customers are the winners, Riverview Law (PDF 21 pages, 2MB)
Innovation case studies (PDF 8 pages, 137K)
Tell us about your ideas – We want to hear about your ideas for delivering legal services in new ways and about any barriers regulation may present. We want to hear from you if regulation has stopped you from operating in new and innovative ways.
Join a virtual reference group – Help us make sure that thinking about the way regulation affects innovation and growth in legal services is embedded in our operations and our regulatory reform programme.
Call our Professional Ethics Guidance team to discuss your ideas for innovation and growth.
Use www.sra.org.uk/innovate to link to this page.