The Co-operative Legal Services experienced mixed fortunes this month. It will not be made part of the 'root and branch' review of the Co-op group triggered by allegations made against its former Chairman Paul Flowers. However The Law Society Gazette reported on 20th November how up to 60 roles at the firm are under threat after 2013 incomes were hit by difficult trading conditions.
The continued fall-out from the collapse of Gibraltar-based solicitors' PII insurer Lemma Europe has revealed an investigation by the regulator found 'false indications' of its compliance with rules on solvency. According to Post Magazine on 25th November, the insurer's 'de factor' finance manager David Brown was 'condemned' for his actions by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, however the alleged actions have not been accepted. Mr Brown was neither an employee nor director of Lemma Europe but acted as its finance manager as part of a relationship between the insurer and Asset Underwriting Limited- a UK intermediary from which Lemma Europe received most of its business and of which Brown was finance director.
With difficulty finding insurance coverage such a common theme in 2013, law firm adviser Lesley Graves of Citadel Law, asked in her latest Gazette op-ed 'Post Jackson: is selling the right option?' A compelling piece revealed her experiences in supporting law firms who have struggled to meet their financial obligations in recent years, taking a strategic approach and suggesting 'don't accept defeat and sell your cases to the first interested buyer'.
Of course when cash flow is difficult, temptation to co-mingle accounts is understood to rise. Solicitors Journal reported on 15th November that the SRA's latest Risk Outlook had sounded the alarm over on reports of dishonest misuse of client assets. According to the report, the SRA had received 420 reports over three months.
Litigation Futures reported on 13th November new research from training company Bond Solon which surveyed 165 experts, finding that just 14% said the number of instructions to act as a single joint expert had gone up in the past year, while 21% said it had reduced.
The personal injury sector put its full weight behind Road Safety Week 18-24th November 2013, with Premex partner the Brain Injury Group supporting a number of member firms' efforts to raise awareness. Meanwhile, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers enjoyed further praise for its #backoff safe driving campaign, after the secretary of state for Transport wrote to Apil wishing the association well with its efforts to reduce accidents on Britain's roads.