The SRA has confirmed that they will launch their new regulatory model on 25 November 2019, and the ILFM would like to ensure that all legal finance professionals are given practical training, updates and support before the rules come into play.
Although the SRA have said that the new regulations will allow solicitors greater flexibility in how they work, therefore making it easier for clients to get help, it also means new challenges for legal cashiers, bookkeepers, legal accountants and COFAs.
The ILFM and the SRA work well together and we have excellent speakers updating our members at our Annual Conferences. Anna Bradley, Chair of the SRA Board, said: "Our new regulations place a sharp focus on the high professional standards that we and the public expect, while allowing solicitors greater freedom in how they deliver their services.
"By stripping away outdated and unnecessary rules and giving solicitors more flexibility to design and deliver their services around their clients, our new regulations are designed to help people access a wide range of high quality services with the confidence that proper protections are in place. That can only be good for both the public and the profession."
The new rules maybe progressive for solicitors and consumers, however a recent internal ILFM survey highlighted concerns from legal finance professionals, worried that that they will find it more of a daily challenge to keep their fee earning colleagues adhering to the new rules, owing to the fact that they are less prescriptive. Responsibility is becoming more and more of an issue for our members, which is why membership to our organisation is vital for all legal firms’ accountants departments. Our live forums, social media updates and interaction have never been so popular and with our friendly teams and tutors on hand, we really are like your information tap. Why wouldn’t you want to be a member?
So, when it comes specifically to the new rules…how can we help and support?
The ILFM offers training days, which provide an outline and review of the new SRA Accounts Rules 2019, as published by the SRA and now approved by the Legal Services Board (LSB). The changes to the rules were developed over a four-year period, and informed by four major public consultations, with more than 35,000 members of the public, the legal profession and wider stakeholders getting involved. That’s a lot of insight.
Here’s but one important reason for cashiers and legal accountants to join. Our training and our tutors. Don’t just take our word for it; listen to our students’ testimonials:
"I would thoroughly recommend this course as not only does it advise you what the new SRA rules are but also tells you how to adapt them to your firm. I feel like I have some good suggestions to put to the partners of my firm of new policies going forward."
Julia Hale Legal Cashier Luttons Dunford 19 Feb 2019
Who is the training for?
Anyone working in legal finance – cashier, bookkeeper, accountant, senior manager, practice manager or COFA. Such an important training day for all firms handling client money.
What will you gain?
With the new Rules coming into force in November 2019, this course will compare the new Rules to the existing ones and explain the potential implications for law firms. The training will cover the key aspects of the new Rules to consider and what the change from the current 52 rules to only 12 new rules means in reality for legal finance teams and legal firms as a whole.
What will it cover?
The new rules allow more flexibility but also require law firms to make their own judgments and decisions on protecting client money. The training therefore has an emphasis on the practical application of the Rules and best practice to help law firms to be compliant.
The training will involve everyday scenarios, case studies, practical guidance and it will encourage discussions throughout the day between delegates.
Reminder of Key Changes to the New Accounts Rules
Key changes being introduced include:
- Creating separate codes of conduct for firms and solicitors
- Simpler Account Rules that focus on the principles of keeping client money safe, rather than lots of specific technical rules
- Freeing up solicitors to carry out ‘non-reserved’ legal work from within a business not regulated by a legal services regulator
- Allowing solicitors to provide reserved legal services on a freelance basis
- The new regulations will be supported by our revised enforcement strategy, which was introduced in February 2019, and provides greater clarity on our approach in cases of potential misconduct.
The new rules are hugely time effective for fee earners and partners, with more flexibility for consumers, however internal challenges for finance professionals will need to be addressed as accountability often falls on their shoulders. The ILFM is there to support you. We urge anyone in legal finance to look at the outstanding benefits of our modest membership and join us TODAY.
Talk to us now and find out more here.