Today's rundown:

People don't know how to find legal advice
Wedding rights
New Law Society deputy vice president
Charitable giving
Excellence award nomination
Beware Japanese Knotweed
 

People don't know how to find legal advice 

New Law Journal reports research showing 46% of people in Britain don't understand the legal system enough to find advice when they need it or access legal aid. Law Society vice president Lubna Shuja said: 

"Many people, particularly those who are living below the poverty line, are regularly denied legal aid by a means test which is too stringent. 

"They face serious and life changing legal issues such as in housing, employment and family law with no recourse to legal advice due to legal aid cuts. The legal aid system needs proper funding, otherwise there will continue to be inequalities between those who can afford to access legal support and those who cannot."
 

Wedding rights 

Law Society vice president Lubna Shuja in a legal advice column for Eastern Eye explains couples' rights regarding weddings that were postponed or cancelled due to restrictions during the pandemic. Eastern Eye notes Lubna will become the first Asian president of the Law Society and its seventh female president.
 

New Law Society deputy vice president 

New Law Journal reports the election of Nick Emmerson to the role of Law Society deputy vice president. 

Nick Emmerson said: "I'm proud to be a solicitor and am keenly aware of the issues facing our profession at this exceptionally difficult time." 

I Stephanie Boyce, president of the Law Society, said: "My congratulations go to Nick who emerged as the winner from a strong field of candidates. I wish him all the very best for his three years as a Law Society office holder."
 

Charitable giving 

In an article about a young boy's fundraising efforts, Manchester Evening News and MSN note the Law Society research showing a 30 per cent increase in demand for wills during the first lockdown, this despite many charities reportedly scaling back legacy marketing activities.
 

Excellence award nomination 

Somerset County Gazette celebrates a local solicitor's nomination for a Law Society award for technology and innovation for reportedly the first video-witnessed will during the pandemic using video-conferencing technology, establishing that video-conferencing technology could be used to witness a testator's signature and that this approach was compatible with the 1837 Act and the common law interpreting it.
 

Beware Japanese Knotweed 

The Times (£) advises a reader on what to do about Japanese knotweed as they try to sell their property, citing Law Society guidance.
 

Also worth a read: 

  • Taliban celebrates as US departs Afghanistan - BBC and FT (£)
  • Hurricane Ida devastation - Guardian
  • Harpers law campaign continues - Telegraph (£)
  • Freedom of information eroded – FT (£)

 


 

Today's rundown:

Plight of Afghan legal professionals
Creating inclusive cultures
Probate deadline day
SQE guidance
 

Plight of Afghan legal professionals 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce spoke to BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour (from 02:39 with Stephanie on at 07:47) about the plight of Afghan women judges and other legal professionals in the country. 

The Gazette reports the lord chancellor confirmed Afghan judges are eligible to relocate to the UK. 

"This is excellent news as we consider Afghan judges – particularly women of whom there are around 270 – to be at grave risk from the new Taliban regime," said I. Stephanie Boyce. 

Canadian Lawyer and LawCareers.net also cover our concerns for Afghan legal professionals.
 

Creating inclusive cultures 

Arun Birla, a Law Society social mobility ambassador, spoke to the Gazette about how the legal profession can learn from success in other industries about creating inclusive cultures.

 

Probate deadline day 

Today's Wills and Probate provides a reminder that today (27 August) is the deadline to give feedback for the Law Society's response to Ministry of Justice proposals to increase probate fees.

 

SQE Guidance 

Today's Conveyancer reports on our new guidance ahead of the launch of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) on 1 September. 

"Our new guidance is intended to answer the pressing questions and concerns that QWE providers may have ahead of the SQE launching in September," said I. Stephanie Boyce.

 

Also worth a read: 

  • Afghanistan: 'Final hours' of evacuation – Guardian
  • Law firm mandates vaccine for office return – Legal Cheek
  • Asylum applicant backlog nearly doubles in two years – Telegraph (£)
  • Fine online with justice by computer – Telegraph (£)
  • Afghanistan: Afghan families arrive at Heathrow – BBC 

 

Today's rundown:

Importance of PII
Fighting cyber crime
 

The importance of PII 

News from Wales discusses Professional Indemnity (PII) insurance and cites our advice that law firms need to be proactive in ensuring PII is in place at all times.

 

Fighting cyber crime 

Our Lexcel standard guidance for law firms is quoted in an article in Today's Wills and probate on 'cyber essentials'.

 

Also worth a read: 

  • Terror threat at Kabul airport – Guardian
  • 90% of solicitors shun full time office working - Gazette
  • High profile solicitor's firm shut down - Gazette

 

Today's rundown:

New deputy vice president
Importance of social mobility
Robot lawyers
ADR in divorce
 

Law Society's new deputy vice president, Nick Emmerson 

Our announcement that we have a new deputy vice president at the Law Society of England and Wales is reported by Today's Wills and Probate and Today's Conveyancer. 

Nick Emmerson states his pleasure in being elected to the role which he will officially take on in October. "It's a great honour to be elected to this position – I'm looking forward to facing the challenges ahead and working alongside the other office holders, council and staff. I'm proud to be a solicitor and am keenly aware of the issues facing our profession at this exceptionally difficult time." 

Read our press release.

 

Our response to state of the nation report 

LawCareers.net reports on our response to a report from the Social Mobility Commission. Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: "We all have a part to play by ensuring that we are actively reaching out to those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and removing the barriers to entry and progression. 

"We recognise more needs to be done to monitor socio-economic diversity across the profession too, including who gets access to the higher-level apprenticeships in the sector, and who gets on and reaches the senior levels of the profession." 

Read our press release. 

Read state of the nation report here.

 

Robot lawyers 

PQ magazine cites our report on the future of the legal profession which suggests that AI may come to have a much larger role in legal work. 

Read our report.

 

Divorcees unaware of ADR 

A report commission by Irwin Mitchell found that 39% of divorcees were unaware of ADR during their divorce, states ICLGcomI. Stephanie Boyce said, "These figures are concerning. Mediation is a useful way to help minimise conflict between separating couples. 

"Solicitors are best placed to assess all ADR options with their clients – such as arbitration, early neutral evaluation, negotiation and conciliation. We encourage a review of these other forms of ADR to ensure parties are able to access the best solution for them. Divorcing couples should be allowed to claim for legal aid funding, and we recommend the UK government reintroduce legal aid for early legal advice in private family proceedings."

 

Also worth a read: 

  • Extinction Rebellion to target City law firms – Gazette
  • High Court uses new hourly rates ahead of formal introduction – Legal Futures
  • Taliban preventing Afghans from fleeing – BBC  
  • 2020 Paralympics kick off in Tokyo – Guardian
  • Covid claims 100 lives a day in the UK – Guardian  
  • Schools told to stay open and scrap bubbles – Times (£)

 


 

Today's rundown:

Remember a charity in your will
Markers of success for law firms
 

Remember a charity in your will 

Today's Wills and Probate notes Remember a Charity week runs from 6-12 September, when the legal profession supports more than 200 charities to remind people of the importance of leaving a legacy to charity. Law Society research showing 7% of people in the UK made a will during the first 2020 lockdown is cited.  
 

Markers of success for law firms 

Legal Futures carries advice for law firms to drive a successful business. The article cites the Law Society Law Management Section's financial benchmarking survey finding that firms are concerned about cashflow as lockdowns ease.
 

Also worth a read: 

  • Baroness Hale support for Afghan judges - Gazette
  • Afghanistan evacuation deadline tensions rise – BBC
  • Domestic violence – police failing to protect victims - Guardian
  • 'Levelling up' fund legal challenge - Independent

 

Today's rundown:

Afghan resettlement scheme urgently needed
Rise of the robot lawyers
Junior lawyers must be supported as the profession looks to hybrid working
Nick Emmerson elected as deputy vice president
Individual practising fee set to fall by 6.7%
 

Afghan resettlement scheme urgently needed 

The IndependentSky NewsCity A.MMSN NewsYahoo! News and the Gazette report our fears the UK government's resettlement scheme will be insufficient to protect all those in danger. Our concerns for the safety female judges and other legal professionals in Afghanistan – shared by other legal bodies such as the Bar Council and the Bar Human Rights Committee - are also covered. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: "A growing number of solicitors are being contacted about people whose lives are in danger in Afghanistan and who have no viable or safe way to apply for or exercise potential rights to travel to the UK. 

"Anyone who wants to apply for entry to the UK from Afghanistan has to get to Pakistan or India to provide biometrics before their application will be considered. This creates a near impenetrable barrier to seeking sanctuary and urgently needs to be rethought." 

Read our press release
 

Rise of the robot lawyers 

Akber Datoo, from our technology and law committee spoke to Ian Collins on talkRADIO (from 07:45 in the 14:30 – 15.00 section) about the increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) software systems by the legal community.


Junior lawyers must be supported as the profession looks to hybrid working 

Legal Cheek reports that Travers Smith has told its employees they can work remotely 2.5 days a week. It also cites advice we issued in May about how to support junior lawyers as the profession looks to hybrid and flexible working.

Read our remote supervision guidance
 

Nick Emmerson elected as deputy vice president
 

Nick Emmerson has won the election for Law Society deputy vice president (DVP). He will take office as DVP on 14 October 2021. Australasian Lawyer and Global Legal Post pick up the story. 

Nick said: "It's a great honour to be elected to this position – I'm looking forward to facing the challenges ahead and working alongside the other office holders, council and staff. I'm proud to be a solicitor and am keenly aware of the issues facing our profession at this exceptionally difficult time."

Read our press release
 

Individual practising fee set to fall by 6.7% 

Legal Futures and the Solicitors Journal report that the individual practising fee will fall by 6.7% in the coming year. Legal Futures also picks up on the DVP election result.
 

Also worth a read:
 

  • Afghanistan: PM to request Biden to keep US troops at Kabul airport after 31 August – Guardian
  • Biden says efforts to evacuate people from Kabul airport are accelerating – BBC
  • Two weeks of climate protests planned by Extinction Rebellion – Evening Standard
  • 80 private travel testing companies warned over 'misleading prices' – Independent

 


 

Today's rundown:

Plight of Afghan legal professionals a 'cause for alarm'
New deputy vice president elected
Divorce difficulties
Knotty situation
Practising fee cut
 

Plight of Afghan legal professionals a 'cause for alarm' 

City AM and Solicitors Journal both report on the threat faced by legal professionals in Afghanistan following its fall to the Taleban. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: "The situation of legal professionals and those working in the Afghan justice system more generally is increasingly a cause for alarm. We are particularly concerned about the approximately 270 women judges and 170 women lawyers, who are especially likely to be at risk." 

Read our joint statement with the Bar Council and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales here and our release here
 

New deputy vice president elected 

Nick Emmerson winning the Law Society of England and Wales 2021 election for deputy vice president is covered by the Gazette. 

"It's a great honour to be elected to this position – I'm looking forward to facing the challenges ahead and working alongside the other office holders, council and staff," he said. 

Read our release
 

Divorce difficulties 

The BBC speaks to Mean Ruparel, chair of our family law committee, in a piece looking at the costs and difficulties involved in the divorce process.
 

Knotty Situation 

The Express mentions our TA6 form in a report looking at factors that can have a devastating impact on the value of your home including Japanese Knotweed.
 

Practising fee cut 

The Legal Services Board approving practising fee levels for 2021/22 features in the GazetteLegal FuturesToday's Wills and Probate and Today's Conveyancer.
 

Also worth a read: 

 


 

Today's rundown:

Afghan women judges 'in hiding'
Solicitors Qualifying Exam guidance
Law Society Awards
 

Afghan resettlement scheme urgently needed 

Global Legal Post reports Afghan women judges are in hiding in the wake of the fall of the country to the Taliban.  Comments from Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce that she fears the UK government's resettlement scheme will be insufficient to protect all those in danger are carried. Also covered by Lawyer Monthly. 

The articles follow our joint call with the Bar Council and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales earlier this week for the UK government to assist in the evacuation of Afghans working in the justice system, particularly female judges. This was also mentioned in parliament by Sir Bob Neil and subsequently picked up by LBC and BBC News Wales. You can view the parliament clip here (10:40:30). 

Read our statement here.
 

Solicitors Qualifying Exam Guidance 

Today's Wills and Probate reports on our guidance for firms ahead of the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) next month. Under the SQE, candidates must complete two years' Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) in order to qualify as a solicitor, as well as passing two sets of exams – SQE1 and SQE2. 

Stephanie Boyce said "QWE has the potential to be far more flexible than the current arrangements, with candidates able to undertake up to four placements with different firms to build the required two years' experience." 

Read our press release here.
 

Diversity Access Scheme scholars revealed 

The Gazette, Business Mayor and the Law Society of Ireland Gazette report on news that 15 aspiring solicitors have been awarded a coveted scholarship by the Law Society of England and Wales' Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) to help them qualify. 

DAS aims to improve social mobility in the profession by supporting those who face exceptional social, educational, financial or personal obstacles to become solicitors. To date, the scheme has helped nearly 250 aspiring solicitors start their legal careers.

Stephanie Boyce said: "In recognition of the increased need for funding we are thrilled to welcome 15 new students onto the Diversity Access Scheme and support them in becoming solicitors. I am grateful to our sponsors, the Legal Education Trust and others who have made this all possible."

Also worth a read:

  • Biden: no American will be left behind – BBC
  • Tributes to solicitor Julian Young - Gazette
  • Solicitor 'facing SRA probe' over Taliban tweet – Legal Futures
  • Raab under fire over Afghan translator call – Daily Mail

 


 

Today's rundown:

Afghan resettlement scheme urgently needed
Solicitors Qualifying Exam guidance
Law Society Awards
 

Afghan resettlement scheme urgently needed 

Legal CheekLegal Futures and the Law Society of Scotland report on our joint call, with the Bar Council and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, to the UK government to assist in the evacuation of Afghans working in the justice system, particularly 250 female judges. 

"We urge the UK government not to abandon these courageous defenders of the rule of law and – in liaison with its international allies – to offer evacuation and safety and asylum in the UK to those women judges, their families, and other members of the legal profession who are in serious danger." 

Read our statement here.
 

Solicitors Qualifying Exam Guidance 

The Gazette cites our guidance for firms ahead of the introduction of the solicitors qualifying exam (SQE) next month. 

Under the SQE, candidates must complete two years Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) in order to qualify as a solicitor, as well as passing two sets of exams – SQE1 and SQE2. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said "QWE has the potential to be far more flexible than the current arrangements, with candidates able to undertake up to four placements with different firms to build the required two years' experience." 

Read our press release here.
 

Law Society Awards 

Bristol Business News reports that newly branded GL Law was shortlisted for the Law Society Award for excellence in practice promotion.
 

Also worth a read: 

  • Taliban seizes Afghanistan: Follow developments live – BBC
  • UK to admit 20,000 Afghan refugees – BBC
  • British troops may have to abandon rescue – Times (£)  
  • Dispute over disciplining judges in Poland – Guardian
  • Chicken run out at Nandos – BBC

 


 

Today's rundown:

Afghan resettlement scheme urgently needed
Probate fee changes
 

Afghan resettlement scheme urgently needed 

The GuardianGazetteMSNthe Barrister, Yahoo News and others report pressure on the prime minister to urgently establish resettlement routes for Afghan refugees, particularly those with links to the UK, women and girls. 

The Law Society of England and Wales, with the Bar Council and the Bar Human Rights Committee, called on the government to play a part in evacuating Afghans working in the justice system, particularly 250 female judges. 

"We urge the UK government not to abandon these courageous defenders of the rule of law and – in liaison with its international allies – to offer evacuation and safety and asylum in the UK to those women judges, their families, and other members of the legal profession who are in serious danger."
 

Probate fee changes 

Solicitors Journal and Today's Wills and Probate reports the Law Society's call to its members to respond to their survey on probate fee increases by 27 August. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: "We want to ensure that the changes won't affect the viability of firms doing probate work or act as a barrier to vulnerable people who need to use this service. 

"This survey is a way for us to hear your views on the proposals, as well as other improvements probate solicitors would like to see in the probate service in England." 

Meanwhile the Gazette reports trust corporations will be allowed to apply for grants of probate for the first time this week, as part of efforts to improve the probate service ahead of a proposed fee increase, noting the Law Society described the increase as "unjustifiable" given there are still "significant delays" to the service and that it is currently drafting a response to the government consultation, which closes on 23 September. 

Read our press release 

  • Also worth a read: 
  • Afghanistan: Follow developments live – BBC
  • Government to detail Afghan resettlement plans – BBC
  • Hydrogen heating for homes on horizon – Guardian
  • Support for tax year change grows – FT (£)

 


 

Today's rundown:

46% of Britons don't understand the legal aid system
Australia trade deal
Tax bills 2022
Rising service charges for leaseholders

46% of Britons don't understand the legal aid system 

Australasian Lawyer reports that a survey by Bolt Burdon Kemp found that 46% of UK residents do not understand the legal aid system or how to get legal assistance. 

It also cites our call that criminal legal aid firms must be given greater assistance from the UK government, in order to avoid widespread market collapse.
 

Australia trade deal 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce is quoted in a This is Money article on the Australia trade deal saying the agreement is a "step in the right direction". The article also quotes trade secretary Liz Truss hailing the deal and saying she wants UK lawyers to be able to practise in Australia without having to undertake requalification. 

Startup OverseasWired Gov and Business News Wales also pick up the story.
 

Tax bills 2022 

According to the Gazette, the UK government's proposals – which are open for consultation until the end of this month – to fix the date on which partnerships and certain other types of businesses report their profits will result in extra tax liabilities for many law firms next year. 

Read our call for members' views on our consultation response
 

Rising service charges for leaseholders 

Dona Awano, member of our conveyancing and land law committee advises a Daily Mail reader facing a 10% rise in the annual service charge for their lease. On the 'right to manage' for leaseholders, she said: "No fault needs to be proved prior to exercising the right, but the landlord still remains the freeholder of the building – they would just no longer have the right to maintain the building or to demand and collect service charges."
 

Also worth a read: 

  • Afghanistan: Follow developments live – Guardian
  • PM says no-one wants Afghanistan to become a "breeding ground for terror" – BBC
  • Covid-19: Double jabbed in England no longer need to isolate – Evening Standard
  • Cat saves the day for 83-year old owner trapped in ravine – Independent

 


 

Today's rundown:

Australia trade deal
Legal aid focus
No jab, no job policy dilemma for employers
LawTech principles
 

Australia trade deal 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce is quoted in a Daily Mail article on the Australia trade deal saying the agreement is a "step in the right direction". The article also quotes trade secretary Liz Truss hailing the deal and saying she wants UK lawyers to be able to practise in Australia without having to undertake requalification.
 

Legal aid focus 

New Law Journal quotes Law Society head of justice Richard Miller in an article looking at the 'lack of trust at the heart of legal aid failures'. He observes it is a "bit strange" to have a system where the Legal Aid Agency makes case-by-case decisions leading to unnecessary red tape.
 

No jab, no job policy dilemma for employers 

Jodie Hill, a member of our employment law committee, spoke with BBC Radio Gloucestershire (from 1:13:55) about the dilemmas employers are now facing about the legality of so-called 'no jab no job' policies.
 

LawTech principles 

Solicitors Journal reports that we have published the outcomes from our LawTech, Ethics and Rule of Law discussion paper, proposing five principles – compliance, lawfulness, capability, transparency and accountability – which will inform LawTech, design and development. 

Read our LawTech and ethics principles report
 

Also worth a read: 

  • Five killed in Plymouth shooting – Guardian
  • Britney Spears: Father will step down as conservator, eventually – BBC
  • Covid-19: Wuhan-based lab worker may be patient zero – Independent
  • UK sends troops to Afghanistan to evacuate staff from embassies – FT (£)

 


 

Today's rundown:

No jab no job policies
Diversity, Equality and Inclusion in the workplace
Probate fees
Under-pressure conveyancing solicitors
Students entering criminal law
Law Society Awards
 

No jab, no job policy dilemma for employers 

Jodie Hill, a member of our employment law committee, spoke with BBC Radio Nottingham (from 1:24:30) about the dilemmas employers are now facing about the legality of so-called 'no jab no job' policies.
 

Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion in the workplace 

Fortune (£) writes about attempts to improve diversity in the workplace, referencing Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce.
 

Criticism of proposals to increase in probate fees 

Today's Wills and Probates cites our criticism of proposals to increase probate fees. 

"The MoJ's persistence of raising fees in the probate service is worrying, particularly when there are continued and significant delays to the probate service," says I. Stephanie Boyce.
 

Should conveyancer's answer the phone? 

Solicitors working in conveyancing experienced an extremely busy period ahead of the stamp duty deadline, reports Legal Futures. They reference our guidance for under-pressure conveyancers. 

Read our guidance in full here.
 

Do law students still fancy a life in crime? 

Legal Cheek looks at the many issues deterring law students from pursuing a career in criminal law. They quote our statistics on the dropping numbers of criminal duty solicitors. 

You can find the full statistics here.
 

Law Society Awards 

Law firms and news outlets are continuing to express delight over shortlists for the Law Society Awards. BBC Radio Manchester (1:01:38) reports that a legal advice centre based at Bolton University made the cut and Rosenblatt praise their partner Joseph McCormick for his shortlist in the category of Solicitor of the Year – Private Practice. 

You can read the full shortlist here.
 

Also worth a read: 

  • IPCC publish shocking report on climate change – The Times (£)
  • New York governor Andrew Cuomo resigns after allegations of sexual harassment – BBC
  • Herd immunity 'not a possibility' – The Guardian
  • Ministers face calls to intervene in 'scam' Covid travel test system – The Guardian

 


 

Today's rundown:

Lugano Convention
MoJ denies extended court hours following boycott pledge
Law Society Awards
LEAP and Law Society announce partnership

Lugano Convention 

MSN UK examines in detail the importance of the Lugano Convention, which provides legal clarity and safeguarding across borders, making litigation more accessible between countries. The UK – a member before Brexit – has applied to rejoin the convention so far unsuccessfully.

It cites our statistics that legal services added nearly £60 billion to the UK economy in 2018, while in 2017 exports of legal services hit £5 billion.
 

MoJ denies extended court hours following boycott pledge 

Australasian Lawyer reports the Ministry of Justice in the UK has shot down claims court hours would be extended amidst a pledge by nearly 400 lawyers to boycott sittings held after hours. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: "A move to extended hours is likely to impose additional costs on law firms, many of which are already suffering the financial burden of the pandemic, and the further negative impact on work/life balance could make it even more difficult for firms to recruit and retain staff."
 

Law Society Awards 

Public Law Today reports that Leeds City Council and South Lakeland District Council have been shortlisted for our In-House Team of the Year award. They join the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Working Families on the shortlist. 

Inside Croydon also highlights that South West London Law Centres has been shortlisted in our excellence in access to justice category. 

The awards ceremony will take place virtually on 7 October. 

Read the Law Society Awards 2021 shortlist in full
 

LEAP and Law Society announce partnership 

Cloud-based case management software company LEAP and the Law Society have announced a strategic partnership for case management, accounting and other legal software. 

Fiona O'Mahony, our head of partnerships, tells Legal Support Network: "We are delighted to welcome LEAP on board as a Strategic Partner of The Law Society. An established provider of legal software, LEAP offers a leading, cloud-based, case management and accounting software, and through customer-led development and innovation, provides software solutions to support and benefit small to mid-sized law firms."
 

Also worth a read: 

  • Students nervously await A-level and BTec exam results – BBC
  • Claimsmiths controversially launches A-level results appeals service – Gazette
  • Virginia Giuffre sues Prince Andrew in New York – Guardian
  • Dido Harding will leave role as chair of NHS Improvement in October – FT (£)
  • Govt's must produce climate change roadmaps, says Vallance – Times (£)

 


 

Today's rundown:

Lugano Convention
The importance of the rule of law
Legal aid funding needed now more than ever
LSB's arrangement processes headed in the right direction
Law Society Awards

Lugano Convention 

The Daily Express examines in detail the importance of the Lugano Convention, which provides legal clarity and safeguarding across borders, making litigation more accessible between countries. The UK – a member before Brexit - has applied to rejoin the convention so far unsuccessfully. 

It cites our statistics that legal services added nearly £60 billion to the UK economy in 2018, while in 2017 exports of legal services hit £5 billion. 

The importance of the rule of law 

Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC writes an in-depth article in the New Law Journal (£) where he examines the importance of the rule of law. He cites our assertion that "now more than ever, the UK legal profession must maintain a global focus," as UK lawyers are increasingly engaged in international commerce and the international protection of human rights. 

Read about our international work 

Petition over extended hours 

The Ministry of Justice has denied claims that lawyers will be forced to attend Crown Court trials at the weekend, following a petition by lawyers opposed to extended hours being introduced in the criminal courts, reports the Gazette. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: "A move to extended hours is likely to impose additional costs on law firms, many of which are already suffering the financial burden of the pandemic, and the further negative impact on work/life balance could make it even more difficult for firms to recruit and retain staff. 

"This could lead to capacity shrinking once more at a time when the entire criminal justice system and those that work within it are already stretched to breaking point." 

Legal aid funding needed now more than ever 

EIN examines a report published by the House of Commons Justice Committee, which look at the future of the legal aid system. 

Stephanie Boyce said: "Legal aid deserts must be ended. Civil and criminal practitioners should be paid properly for their expert work which is crucial to providing access to justice and the rule of law." 

Read our press release 

LSB's arrangement processes headed in the right direction 

Today's Family Lawyer reports that we have said the Legal Services Board's (LSB) proposed new rules and guidance for changes to regulatory arrangements are a significant improvement. 

Stephanie Boyce said: "We have previously raised concerns with the LSB about a lack of supportive evidence and impact assessments in the rule change applications submitted to the oversight regulator. 

"The new rules, however, show that the legal oversight regulator is improving these shortfalls to the benefit of the legal profession and all consumers of legal services." 

Read our consultation response 

Law Society Awards 

Local Government Lawyer reports that Leeds City Council and South Lakeland District Council have been shortlisted for our In-House Team of the Year award. 

South West London Law Centres has been shortlisted in our access to justice category. 

Niche Magazine and Love Business East Midlands also cover our shortlist announcement, highlighting that Glynis Wright MBE, a partner and head of family at Nelsons, is among the nominees for the Woman Solicitor of the Year award. 

The awards ceremony will take place virtually on 7 October. 

Read the Law Society Awards 2021 shortlist in full 

Also worth a read:

  • UN to unveil largest ever report on climate change today – BBC
  • Postcode lottery for rape victims fighting for justice – Times (£)
  • Labour tells PM to 'get a grip' amid Rishi Sunak row – Independent
  • UK law firm partners could face bigger tax bills in 2022 – FT (£)

 


 

Today's rundown:

Maternity and paternity leave
Rules and guidance on regulatory arrangements
LawTech principles announced
Improvements to MyHMCTS

Maternity and paternity leave 

City A.M reports that more law firms are offering paid leave or paying towards fertility treatments in a bid to keep their lawyers. 

"Providing leave and adapting workloads or chargeable hours expectations to support people through challenging times will help firms retain diverse talent in the profession and mean individuals can have sustainable and rewarding careers over the long term," said a spokesperson for the Law Society.
 

Rules and guidance on regulatory arrangements 

Today's Conveyancer reports our announcement on the Legal Services Broad's (LSB) proposed new rules and guidance for changes to regulatory arrangements. The draft arrangements are intended to provide clear framework for requirements for regulators and regulatory bodies seeking LSB's approval for alterations to regulatory arrangements. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: "We are supportive of the new rules and guidance and believe that they will improve the quality of rule change applications. 

"Requiring regulators to provide a robust cost benefit analysis for any change proposals will further improve the quality of rule change applications, as the LSB will be able to ensure consistent evidence-based regulation of legal services, which has been lacking in the past." 

Read our consultation response

 

LawTech principles announced 

Shoosmiths highlights our LawTech and ethics principles, which stress the importance of embedding user trust in legal technology. It also cites the Solicitors Regulation Authority's (SRA) Technology and Innovation Services Report, which was also released last month. 

Read our LawTech and ethics report

 

Improvements to MyHMCTS 

The Gazette Official Public Record cites our notice about the improvements which have been made to MyHMCTS based on feedback from probate practitioners. 

Read our HMCTS notice

 

Also worth a read: 

  • All children over 16 to be offered Covid vaccine – Times (£)
  • Civil servants may return to office two days a week – Times (£)
  • Students applying to UK alternative to Erasmus scheme – Guardian
  • Tory chair accused of mixing business and political interests – FT (£)

 

Today's rundown:

Cleaning house
Agreement with Rome
Guideline Hourly Rates
Standardised NDA launches
Profession looks to be more diverse and inclusive
Social mobility in the profession
Why social mobility work must start in school
LawTech principles announced
LSB's arrangement processes headed in the right direction

Cleaning house 

Sarah Dwight, Surekha Gangkhedkar and Nicholas Taggart, members of our conveyancing and land law committee, speak to the Times (£) about their experiences of their clients dealing with buyers leaving their new home in a less than satisfactory state. 

Surekha Gangkhedkar recalled a client who arrived with their daughter at their new home on a Friday afternoon, only to be greeted by the previous owner who was still in residence. 

She added: "The seller had decided that she would only be able to move out on the Saturday and had prepared the guest bedroom for the woman and her daughter to sleep in. My client was so shocked that she did stay as she had nowhere else to go." 

Agreement with Rome 

NZ Lawyer and Australasian Lawyer report our memorandum of understanding with the Rome Bar. The agreement pledges to continue co-operation in support of the Italian and English legal professions – despite Brexit. 

"The relationship between the Law Society and the Rome Bar is deeply rooted. Italy is a nation with a strong legal tradition, and our countries can only benefit by sharing knowledge and expertise," said Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce. 

Read our press release 

Guideline Hourly Rates 

Richard Miller, our head of justice, tells the Gazette that we broadly support the recommendations made by the Civil Justice Council in its final report on guideline hourly rates (GHRs). 

He added: "We continue to reiterate that GHRs are just one of many areas of civil justice being reviewed and reformed, so we would call for the new proposed rates to be seen as an interim measure that will provide much needed clarity to assist fee earners, law firms and costs judges in the short term." 

Standardised NDA launches 

A group of in-house and private practitioner solicitors have published a free standard non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to improve the efficiency of legal teams, increase transparency and cut costs, the Gazette and News Anyway report. 

Stephanie Boyce said: "As an in-house lawyer myself, I know how much time can be spent on NDAs between commercial partners. The vast majority of NDAs are boilerplate documents used tens of thousands of times per day in an entirely non-controversial way to protect potentially valuable business information." 

Profession looks to be more diverse and inclusive 

World Intellectual Property Review (£) covers an in-depth report into the profession's rallying cry for greater equality for people of diverse backgrounds, following the death of George Floyd in May 2020. 

Stephanie Boyce explains the complexities of linking renumeration and bonuses to diversity and inclusion (D&I), with many firms unsure of how this would work or could be measured. 

"The benefit of linking compensation to D&I efforts is that it sends a clear message from the top that the firm is serious about inclusion, but the practical challenge of how this can be measured and matched against remuneration may explain why firms are hesitant to take this approach." 

Social mobility in the profession 

Solicitors Journal reports on the Social Mobility Commission's state of the nation report 2021, which found that 75% of the UK's job growth since 2012 has been in professional jobs. 

"We are pleased to see that professional jobs have expanded over the last decade, creating opportunities throughout the professional services sectors. 

"Whether this expansion improves relative social mobility in the UK depends on who gets these jobs. At present, it looks like you still have a much greater chance of getting a professional job if you are from a professional background," said I. Stephanie Boyce. 

Read our press release 

Why social mobility work must start in school 

Council member Laura Uberoi writes in the Lawyer (£) about why social mobility work must start in schools so children can grow into adults knowing what a solicitor is, what they can do to help or how they can become one.

 She said: "Several law firms have already confirmed that they are no longer looking at GCSE or A Level results when selecting candidates, in a bid to increase diversity. However, school is still where applicants set their future wheels in motion with selecting their subjects for further study, extra-curricular activities and, most importantly, mentally preparing themselves for the challenges ahead." 

LawTech principles announced 

Our publication of a set of principles to guide the design, development and use of LawTech is covered by Today's Conveyancer and Practice Source

Stephanie Boyce commented: "We have proposed five main principles to inform LawTech design, development and deployment. At its heart is client care, so LawTech can be used in a way which meets solicitors' professional duties to their clients."

Read our press release 

LSB's arrangement processes headed in the right direction 

In our consultation response, we have said that the Legal Services Board's proposed new rules and guidance for changes to regulatory arrangements are a significant improvement, reports Today's Wills & Probate

"Requiring regulators to provide a robust cost benefit analysis for any change proposals will further improve the quality of rule change applications, as the LSB will be able to ensure consistent evidence-based regulation of legal services, which has been lacking in the past," said I. Stephanie Boyce. 

Also worth a read: 

  • Barrister Abimbola Johnson will lead independent police oversight board – Guardian
  • Amber travel watchlist abandoned by PM – FT (£)
  • UK govt accused of playing 'political games' over vaccine tech – Independent
  • Solicitors warned about their personal lives by SDT – Gazette

 

Today's rundown:

Reaction to PM's 'left-wing' lawyers remark
Agreement with Rome
LawTech principles announced
The future of legal aid
Countdown to SQE launch

Reaction to PM's 'left-wing' lawyers remark 

The Gazette, MSN UK and Yahoo! News report on reaction to the prime minister's remarks about 'left-wing' lawyers. 

A Law Society spokesperson said: "Solicitors have a professional obligation to act in the best interests of their client, whoever they may be, and their personal and political views do not come into it. 

"Repeated government attacks on the integrity of the legal profession are deeply concerning. This divisive language serves nobody and puts lawyers and their clients at risk." 

Agreement with Rome 

The GazetteBusiness Mayor, Business Fast and Practice Source report our memorandum of understanding with the Rome Bar. The agreement pledges to continue co-operation in support of the Italian and English legal professions – despite Brexit. 

"The relationship between the Law Society and the Rome Bar is deeply rooted. Italy is a nation with a strong legal tradition, and our countries can only benefit by sharing knowledge and expertise. The memorandum of understanding also re-affirms both organisations' commitment to the rule of law, protection of human rights and access to justice, as well as the goals of the United Nations Agenda 2030," said Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce. 

Read our press release
 

LawTech principles announced 

Our publication of a set of principles to guide the design, development and use of LawTech is covered by Practice Source and Today's Wills & Probate

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce announced the lawtech principles during her presidential address marking the re-opening of 113 Chancery Lane last week. 

The Gazette also examines our LawTech principles and the Solicitors Regulation Authority's publication of its state of the market survey commissioned from University of Oxford researchers, which was published last week. 

Read our press release
 

The future of legal aid 

Law and Lawyers covers the Justice Committee report on the future of legal aid including references to some of the concerns raised by the Law Society. 

It cites our head of justice, Richard Miller, who said at the end of 2020 that "for the first time in two decades, it feels like the public debate is about how to improve legal aid, instead of how to stop further cuts". 

Read our press release
 

Countdown to SQE launch 

The Gazette runs a piece examining the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), which will launch on 1 September, marking a change in the system which has been in place for almost 30 years. 

Dr Victoria Roper, chair of our education and training committee said: "The SQE system has a greater range of options and price points for students. We have outlined these in our funding information. It remains to be seen whether the SQE achieves its aim of reducing costs to qualify as a solicitor and this is something we will be reviewing." 

Read our information on the different SQE funding routes
 

Also worth a read: 

  • Covid-19: New rules for fully jabbed US & EU arrivals – BBC
  • Three arrested following the death of a five-year-old boy in Bridgend – Independent
  • Tokyo 2020: Belarus sprinter who refused to go home under police protection – Guardian
  • Tokyo 2020: All the day's action (live) – BBC
  • UK businesses face pressure to appoint more women to boards – FT (£)

 


 

Today's rundown:

Reaction to PM's 'left-wing' lawyers remark
Lawtech principles announced
Upfront property information
The future of legal aid

Reaction to PM's 'left-wing' lawyers remark 

The Independent reports on reaction to the prime minister's remarks about 'left-wing' lawyers. 

A Law Society spokesperson said: "Solicitors have a professional obligation to act in the best interests of their client, whoever they may be, and their personal and political views do not come into it.

"Repeated government attacks on the integrity of the legal profession are deeply concerning. This divisive language serves nobody and puts lawyers and their clients at risk."

Lawtech principles announced

Our publication of a set of principles to guide the design, development and use of lawtech – is covered by Inside ConveyancingLegal Futures and the Gazette. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce announced the lawtech principles during her presidential address marking the re-opening of 113 Chancery Lane.

Read our press release

Upfront property information 

Our commercial proposition manager, Andrew Moroney, provides more information about our TA6 project in the Gazette

"Simply put, the Law Society is extending the TA6: extracting a set of questions that can be used to collect early data, or 'upfront information', about a property at the point of listing," he said. 

The future of legal aid

The Justice Gap covers the Justice Committee report on the future of legal aid including references to some of the concerns raised by the Law Society. 

Read our press release 

Also worth a read: 

  • New disclosure rules for 'less complex claims' – Gazette
  • First person sentenced under new Hong Kong security law – BBC
  • Covid: Starmer call to bring forward self-isolation end date – Guardian

 


 

Today's rundown:

Impact of no Lugano
Social diversity and the law
Agreement with Rome
Journey into the law
Legal Aid needs reform

Impact of no Lugano 

Sarah Garvey, chair of our private international law committee, spoke to CNN about the Lugano convention, which the UK used to be a member of via its EU membership and which we've reapplied – so far unsuccessfully – to re-join. The Daily Express and the World News both have reports. 

Social diversity and the law 

Law Society social mobility ambassador Alice Kinder writes in the Times (£) on the impact of economic status and class on your chances of progression in the professions. She cites SRA data which says that 22 percent of lawyers in England and Wales attended fee-paying schools compared to seven percent in the general population. 

Agreement with Rome

The Times (£) legal diary makes a valiant attempt to be amusing about our memorandum of understanding with the Rome Bar. The agreement pledges to continue co-operation in support of the Italian and English legal professions – despite Brexit. 

Journey into the law 

Vice president Lubna Shuja writes an article for Legal Women Magazine on her route into the law. "When I started my training contract there were only 709 Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors. I don't remember being conscious of not seeing others that looked like me. I just got on with the job. Now there are over 20,000 Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors, and over half of the profession are women. It is wonderful to see such progress but much more still needs to be done." 

Legal aid needs reform 

New Law Journal quotes Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce in an article on legal aid covering MPs' call for urgent reform. The Justice Committee report was published this week and identifies challenges in hiring and retaining staff because of the "rigid system" of fixed fees and low pay.

Stephanie Boyce said: "People living below the poverty line are regularly denied legal aid by a too stringent means test." 

Read our press release 

Also worth a read: 

  • PII price hikes hitting small firms – Times (£)
  • Johnson attacks 'lefty lawyers' – Gazette
  • Injured Hillsborough fan dies – BBC News

 
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