Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

LSB chair addresses plans for new business structures at Future of Legal Services Forum

The Legal Services Board (LSB) is calling for responses from the profession on the regulatory framework for alternative business structures (ABS), launching its consultation on the issue at the Legal Week Future of Legal Services Forum.

LSB chairman David Edmonds (pictured) used his keynote address at the conference, held in Central London last week (14 May), to issue a discussion paper to help build a regulatory framework for ABS, the radical new model which will allow legal services to be provided outside traditional partnerships.

Edmonds told delegates: “We need to scale back outdated restrictions on ownership, management and financing.”

He added: “[The discussion paper] is one which moves debate to the next level – practical implementation, not economic theory. That debate will, in turn, identify the key opportunities and unique risks posed by ABS.”

Questions in the paper ask whether the target launch date of mid-2011 is desirable and achievable, how complaints handling would work, how the legal services market will change as a result of opening up the market and what impact new structures could have on diversity. It also goes into detail on practical licensing and regulation issues of approved regulators.

Responses are due by 14 August, 2009, with a more detailed consultation on the content of licensing rules set to be issued later this year.

The LSB is working to a robust framework for implementing ABS, which will allow for external ownership of law firms. The model is set to be up and running from mid-2011.

A key issue will be the awarding of licensing powers to regulators to approve applications to provide legal services through an ABS. Edmonds said the LSB is aiming to take applications from approved regulators to becoming licensing bodies for ABS from 2010, with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) already indicating its interest in securing licensing powers.

The timetable for the changes, which will see a shift to entity-based regulation rather than focusing on individual practitioners – by approved regulators such as the SRA – has already provoked controversy with the Law Society concerned at the pace of implementation.

Future of Legal Services Forum: Talking heads

This premium content is reserved for
Legal Week Subscribers.


  • Trusted insight, news and analysis from the UK and across the globe
  • Connections to senior business lawyers within the leading law firms and legal departments
  • Unique access to ALM's unrivalled, market-leading reporting in the US and Asia and cutting-edge research, including Legal Week's UK Top 50 and Global 100 rankings
  • The Legal Week Daily News Alert, Editor's Highlights, and Breaking News digital newsletters and more, plus a choice of over 70 ALM newsletters
  • Optimized access on all of your devices: desktop, tablet and mobile
  • Complete access to the site's full archive of more than 56,000 articles

Already have an account?

For enterprise-wide or corporate enquiries, please contact Paul Reeves on Preeves@alm.com or call on +44 (0) 203 875 0651


Legal Week Newsletters & Alerts

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your subscription, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters and alerts. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2019 American Lawyer Media International, LLC. All Rights Reserved.