Small firms

small firmsAre you a sole practitioner, or do you work for a small firm?

We want to make sure that sole practitioners and small firms can comply with our rules in ways that work best for them, so that they can get on with doing business and serving their clients. In this part of the website you can find resources and information designed to help you keep up to date with regulation, and to make it easier to meet the right requirements.

Regulatory updates

Have you been asked to represent a young person?

To help firm, remember to take a look at our toolkit for solicitors practising in the youth court, as part of our continuing competence tool kit. As well as setting out resources and helpful tips, it can help you to identify learning and development needs required to remain competent in delivering services to clients in the Youth Court.

Looking to the future: further consultations

Following our first Looking to the future consultation in summer 2016, we are now consulting on further changes to our Handbook and our proposed revised Enforcement Strategy. This consultation also includes the transitional arrangements for the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

We are also consulting on publishing more of the regulatory data we hold about solicitors and firms we regulate. We are also consulting on asking the solicitors and firms we regulate to publish more information on the legal services they provide.

Our approach to continuing competence

Since 1 November 2016, solicitors should have adopted our new approach to continuing competence . It requires all solicitors to reflect on the quality of their practice and to address their learning and development needs. To help you understand what you need to do, we have produced an online toolkit.

Recently published warning notices

We have recently published two warning notices which sets out issues that we are seeing in firms involved in:

You should take time to familiarise yourself with these notices and contact Professional Ethics for further guidance.

Previous regulatory updates

Risk Outlook 2017/18

The Risk Outlook outlines our priority risks for 2017/18: why they matter, current trends, tips for managing them and what we are doing to help. The risks are:

Access to legal services – Many people do not get the legal help they need. You are best placed to serve your community, and we are reforming our regulation to make this easier.

Standards of service – The benefits of good complaints handling for your firm and clients, and the latest complaint trends.

Information security – A must-read chapter on protecting information from both traditional and cyber threats.

Protecting client money – How you can protect your firm from “Friday Afternoon Fraud”.

Investment schemes – A new risk for 2017. How to spot a questionable investment scheme and information about how solicitors are being used to legitimised these schemes.

Money Laundering – There are new regulations that are likely to apply to you.

Independence and integrity – The importance of high standards, particularly when conducting claims and litigation.

Diversity – Looking at the role all firms can play in improving diversity in the profession.

Check out our priority risks online tool for a summary of each risk, or read the Risk Outlook online now.

Resources

SRA Professional Indemnity Insurance

New firm starter pack

Authorisation requirements

Question of ethics

Succession planning and closing down

Useful links

  • LawCare – an advisory and support service designed to help lawyers, their immediate families and their staff to deal with a range of issue
  • Sole practitioners group – an independent external stakeholder group, dedicated to representing the interests of sole practitioners
  • The Law Society Practice Advice Service – for advice and support on all aspects of legal practice
  • The Law Society Small Firms Division – provides information and services relevant to your practice, including industry news, business and finance analysis.

How does the SRA define a 'small firm'?

Our view is that a small firm can be best defined as a sole practitioner or a firm with no more than four partners, members or directors, which has an annual turnover of no more than £400,000. We do not feel it is necessary include any limit on the number of PC holders, as in practice turnover operates as the appropriate restriction.

Help

Professional Ethics Guidance team – call our professional ethics advisors for advice on the SRA Handbook.

Contact Centre – available to help with most queries, including all mySRA user support requests

Your health, your career – Worried about your health? Problems at work? Talk to us early. We will try to help.

Supervision for small firms – dedicated support for small firms facing regulatory issues

Regulating small firms – This guide offers you information on issues specific to smaller businesses.


Use www.sra.org.uk/smallfirms to link to this page.

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