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Bloomsburry Family law

Legal services

New horizons

Alternative business structures will mark a new dawn in the delivery of legal services, says Paul Bennett, but law firms must adapt to take full advantage. The profession is awash with doom-laden predictions of firms failing and solicitors working for supermarkets as the race towards the introduction of alternative business structures (ABS) intensifies. The reality is that winners and losers will emerge. The aim of this article is to consider the changes and focus on how to take advantage of them.

Time’s up

David Coldrick looks at the billable hour and explains why its days should be numbered

Deal or no deal

Negligence claims are not something that private client practitioners should gamble on, warns Sara Rogers, who explains how to mitigate the risk

On the clock

Is time up for the billable hour? David Coldrick considers whether time recording is a viable charging structure for law firms. In last month’s column I set out my reservations about time recording as the basis for billing clients. I suggested that it does not really work for the law firm, it does not work for the client, and it will not stand up to the challenge of alternative charging methodologies spurred into existence by increased competition. This month I take a look at the background to the billable hour and some of the arguments used to defend it.

From Russia with love

As lawyers we are now anticipating a move towards a regulatory structure somewhat akin to that provided by the FSA for financial advisers – a so-called ‘principles-based’ system. For those of us who once hoped this might represent a return to past simplicities, I think we shall be disillusioned; a quick look at FSA rules is instructive. And of course, given recent events we might be forgiven for thinking deeply about the efficacy of such systems.