....from the SOLICITORS group

Protecting Micro Businesses: government proposals
Around 95% of UK businesses are so-called ‘micro businesses’, yet they are particularly vulnerable to risks that bigger business operations are not. This is down to a myriad of issues such as under capitalisation, lack of resources and an inability to attract the talent that is also sought by larger companies. However, the Government has consulted on plans to protect and better equip micro businesses – a move that could improve an economy now suffering the after-effects of the Brexit vote. More…

Will Brexit amount to a Force Majeure?
The recent Brexit vote has led to the expected volatility in the markets, and the wider uncertainty will undoubtedly continue for the foreseeable future.  The implications of Brexit in the legal context are wide-ranging – but predicting what may or may not happen is tricky given that Article 50 has not yet been triggered and negotiations yet to be commenced.  A moot point that businesses and commercial lawyers do need to consider now is whether the forthcoming Brexit may amount to force majeure for the purposes of commercial contracts. 
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Family: proprietary estoppel
The principle of proprietary estoppel can be highly useful in family claims – whether as a stand-alone claim, or alongside other claims. Its flexibility is likely to be behind the notable increase in proprietary estoppel claims in recent years. A recent ruling sets out guidance that family practitioners will find useful. 
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Conveyancing: new CON29 and CON29O Forms
The new conveyancing forms of enquiry CON29 and CON29O are now in place, and long-awaited guidance on the changes has now been issued.  So what has changed – and why? More…

Practice: Litigants in Person
Are lawyers failing to apply official guidance on how to treat litigants in person? An LIP who has successfully defended a libel claim brought by MP George Galloway, has reportedly stated her intention to begin a campaign to encourage lawyers to abide by existing guidance on how to treat LIPs. The former assistant to Galloway has brought to the fore the issues LIPs face. More…

Law Firms as Trust Corporations: practice guidance
Trust corporations are a faceless, impersonal entity that do not necessarily appeal immediately to clients, but they are being used in increasing numbers by law firms taking on a fiduciary role. That role may be as an in-house trustee, executor, administrator, attorney or deputy (roles traditionally undertaken by partners as individuals rather than as an entity). In response to the growing use of trust corporations by law firms – the Law Society has now issued practice guidance. More…

....from the Profession

The challenges of strategic planning in law firms
The economic model of most law firms is to sell time. This means that, from an income perspective, the upside is limited by capacity and price, yet the downside is nearly unlimited. Organising and guiding a firm with the right strategy, in changing times, is therefore pivotal. 
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Conveyancing Profitability and the importance of Software Design
Conveyancing is an intensely competitive market. There is a constant stream of new practitioners and licensed conveyancers offering services at ever lower prices. The dilemma is how to compete in such a savage market. 
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Litigation Finance & the Rise of the Boutique Firm
When it comes to levelling the playing field, litigation finance is one of the most important tools at a smaller firm’s disposal. When firms take full advantage of the opportunities litigation funding offers, it can help them compete more effectively by; relieving financial pressures, contributing book building potential, and creating business development and networking opportunities for the firm. 
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Compliance Checklist
The following are all hot topics on which Socrates has updated subscribers over the last year. (People think we just do online training, but a major part of our service is keeping subscribers up to date, and providing precedent documents.) 
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Co-sourcing delivers the control law firms seek
Following years of cost cutting and the search for ever greater efficiency, there now appears more confidence and optimism about the current economic environment in which law firms find themselves operating.
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