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SRA gets better handle on in-house lawyers

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is undertaking detailed research to better understand the in-house lawyers sector.

Solicitors working in-house (i.e. not within law firms or alternative business structures) comprise nearly a fifth of solicitors regulated by the SRA. The SRA is keen to learn more about in-house lawyers to understand how they work and the challenges they face.

A review of the sector has therefore been commissioned by the SRA, which will deliver more detailed information about these 25,000 solicitors working in-house. This understanding will help the SRA work with the sector in terms of emerging risks and common issues.

The project is being led by economic consultancy, Oxera, supported by Professor John Flood of the University of Westminster and market research agency Facts International. It will look at how in-house teams are made up, what work is carried out - reserved or unreserved, and what motivates solicitors to work in-house rather than in traditional law firms.

Tim Livesley, the SRA's Chief Economist, said: "This research will allow us to gain a more detailed insight into the types of work carried out by in-house lawyers. The section of the legal market is large, complex and diverse and effective and proportionate regulation needs to be informed by a stronger evidence base."

The research will involve an on-line survey, case studies and a literature review. Once the review has been completed, it will be used to inform future SRA policy.

The work is due to be completed by spring 2013.

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