Bar Regulator looking for New Law business
The barristers’ regulator is looking for a guinea pig to test its ability to oversee new models of legal practice, it emerged yesterday.
The Bar Standards Board announced that it was looking for existing alternative business structures – business employing lawyers but that do not conform to the traditional partnership or chambers model – for a pilot programme.
Since April 2015, the board has been operating a halfway house by regulating lawyer-only bodies known as “entities” or “authorised bodies” that, while not being traditional chambers, were still run by lawyers. In contrast, ABSs can involve non-lawyer owners and financing.
“We encourage anybody who is thinking about establishing an ABS or entity to please get in touch with our entity regulation team to discuss your needs,” said Oliver Hanmer, the BSB’s director of supervision.
A market for regulators will emerge once the BSB becomes a fully-fledged regulator of ABSs, with the organisation competing for business with the much larger Solicitors Regulation Authority. But critics argue that competition will drive regulators to the lowest common denominator in a bid to land business.