Different ways of working

Under the new regulations solicitors will be able to work, and offer services to the public, in a number of different ways.

Definitions of the ways solicitors can work

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Solicitors working within any SRA-regulated law firm. This includes law firms and licensed bodies, as well as sole practitioners.

Such solicitors can provide a full range of legal services, including reserved activities, to any client.

The solicitors/firms are required to hold a specified level of professional indemnity insurance, set by the SRA, and their clients have the right to make a claim to the SRA Compensation Fund.

For more information read our 'Does my business need to be authorised' checklist and 'firm authorisation' guidance.

The SRA does not specify what insurance non-regulated organisations are required to hold.

Clients of such solicitors are not able to make claims to the SRA Compensation Fund.

Solicitors working in this way must explain to potential clients their regulatory position and the protections this provides. This must include highlighting the difference in arrangements compared to a solicitor working in a regulated law firm.

Solicitors working directly within a non-commercial organisation as defined by section 23(2) of Legal Services Act 2007. Such organisations may include not-for-profit bodies, charities, community interest groups and independent trade unions.

Solicitors working for such organisations are allowed, on behalf of their employer, to provide certain reserved activities to the public.

When providing services to the public these solicitors will be covered by the wider insurance arrangements that organisation has in place. The SRA does not specify a specific level of cover but does require that the solicitor is covered by professional indemnity insurance that is 'adequate and appropriate' for the work they are carrying out.

Clients of such solicitors have the right to make claims to the SRA Compensation Fund.

Solicitors working in this way must explain to potential clients their regulatory position and the protections this provides. This must include highlighting the difference in arrangements compared to a solicitor working in an SRA-regulated law firm.

This type of freelance solicitor can provide both reserved and unreserved services directly to the public.

Under section 10.2 (b) of the SRA's Standards and Regulations, there are certain restrictions over how they can operate in order for them to be able to provide reserved legal services. These include that they cannot employ anyone to conduct the legal work, can only hold client money for the payment of specific costs and must have at least three-years' prior experience as a solicitor.

Clients of such solicitors largely benefit from the same protections as clients of solicitors working within a regulated law firm, including the right to make a claim to the SRA Compensation Fund. However, unlike with regulated law firm who are required to hold a specific level of insurance, independent solicitors who offer reserved services are required to hold insurance which is 'adequate and appropriate' for the work they are carry out.

Clients of such solicitors have the right to make claims to the SRA Compensation Fund.

For more information read our 'Preparing to become a sole practitioner or an SRA-regulated freelance solicitor' guidance.

Freelance solicitors are individual solicitors who work on their own without being part of, or working for, a wider organisation or regulated law firm.

This type of freelance solicitor can only provide unreserved services directly to the public.

The SRA does not specify what insurance they are required to hold, in line with its approach to unregulated organisations that are able to provide unreserved services.

Clients of such solicitors have the right to make claims to the SRA Compensation Fund.

For more information read our 'Preparing to become a sole practitioner or an SRA-regulated freelance solicitor' guidance.

Solicitors working in a non-regulated organisation on an 'in-house' basis. Such solicitors can provide legal services (both reserved and unreserved) directly to their employer, and connected individuals or organisations.