We provide specialist advice to law firms and to individual solicitors. With a much extended legal services market place we are also called upon to advise other legal professionals such as barristers, legal executives, costs draftsmen and licensed conveyancers. Jayne is also a member of the Solicitors’ Assistance Scheme.
Jayne regularly appears as an advocate before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal as well as dealing with appeals to the Administrative Court.
The expertise that we have developed in this area and our close links with the regulators means that we are perfectly placed to advise others on their regulatory obligations. Jayne’s experience in a major commercial law firm for over twenty years also enables her to provide a unique offering to the larger practices.
Jayne herself was described in Chambers & Partners Directory 2014 as giving “sound advice in a form which is easily digestible. She is also reliable, meets deadlines and she is sympathetic as well as being realistic” and in 2015 “she is a great strategist in terms of knowing her way around the regular pitfalls“.
Matthew Moore – a consultant with the firm – is recognised as one of the leading authorities on law firm management and compliance issues. His work is mainly preventive in nature, advising firms on their compliance programmes, including the provision of advice on terms of business and retainer issues as well as the wider elements of the ‘compliance plan’ that all firms are advised to adopt under the SRA Authorisation Rules. Matthew also has extensive experience of anti-money laundering issues, having written, lectured and advised firms on their compliance and reporting requirements.
Conduct investigations by the SRA are invariably highly complex, covering many different areas of your practice. The impact on you and your firm can be enormous and the consequences potentially serious for all involved. We will manage the situation in order to put forward the best possible case and to reduce the impact on the firm. We will work with you to try and avoid a referral to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal whether by use of an internal sanction or a regulatory settlement agreement. Leaving the problem to the last minute can prejudice your chances of avoiding a referral to the SDT. Be smart at the start and obtain proper advice.
If you are at this stage, we cannot stress how important it is to obtain expert advice without delay. Instruct us and benefit from a wealth of experience both prosecuting and defending before the SDT. From preparing a statement in mitigation to representing you at the Tribunal, we can help.
The process for obtaining a licence for an alternative business structure or an authorisation as a traditional law firm is the same and is complicated. In both cases, the SRA requires an analysis of the risks to the new business and an explanation of the controls that will be put in place. Many new firms find this a difficult exercise. Our solicitor consultant Bronwen Still has successfully steered a wide variety of different business models through this procedure. It is important for firms to obtain advice at the earliest possible opportunity.
The imposition of conditions on your practising certificate can dramatically affect your ability to practice and your future employment prospects and may stop you practising at all. We can advise on challenging the imposition of conditions and can also advise on appeals.
A complaint of poor service can often overlap with allegations of negligence. Combine this with an increased compensation limit of £50,000 and a myriad of confusing new procedures and the complaint can become overwhelming. We can help to cut through the complexities in order to reach a fair and commercially viable settlement. We have particular expertise in relation to complaints involving potential negligence claims.
Jayne is Legal Adviser to the Conduct Committee of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists. As such she attends the disciplinary hearings and advises the Committee on evidence and procedure as well as advising on disciplinary rules and any appeals. She has also been called upon to advise other professionals facing regulatory problems such as surveyors and accountants.
Bronwen Still is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of LawCare. Being caught up in any dispute or proceedings with the SRA can be particularly stressful – as indeed can any aspect of practice. For those who find stress, for whatever reason, is becoming overwhelming or who have problems with depression, addiction or other mental health issues, LawCare offers help through its website and its dedicated confidential helpline, manned by solicitors, which operates 365 days a year. Its website can be accessed through this link – http://www.lawcare.org.uk.