A changing legal world

by Crispin Passmore, Executive Director, Policy

18 May 2016

The way that solicitors offer, and consumers choose and use, legal services has been changing. While for many the traditional ways are still the most suitable, for others technology and choice are driving change. Searching Google, getting peer support on Facebook and being offered choices beyond solicitors on the high street is now common place. Similarly, solicitors ply their profession in ever more varied forms. A quarter are in-house. Many work in charities trying to tackle unmet legal need. Some work with technology companies and others in different professional sectors such as accountancy and financial services.

Just as solicitors have been responding by working in different ways, we at the SRA have been thinking about how our regulation can be modernised to cope with the variety of modern practice. Our Handbook was too long and we have started to simplify it—getting it down from in excess of 650 pages to around 450 by removing out-of-date rules and unnecessary prescription. But we want to do more. We want to give solicitors more freedom to offer their services in different ways. We want high street firms to have the flexibility to compete with new competitors that operate outside of legal regulation.

Over the next few months we will be consulting widely as we propose reform of our regulation. We will start with simplified Codes of Conduct and SRA Accounts Rules. Beyond that we will be looking again at Professional Indemnity Insurance, the Practice Framework Rules and Authorisation Rules.

We want your help, so please let us know your views. You can influence our thinking as it develops by getting involved in our reference groups.

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