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U.K.'s SRA 'Intervenes' in Law Firm, Tells 250 Employees to Clear Out Desks

In the U.K., there is a regulator called the Solicitors Regulation Authority. According to its website, the SRA regulates more than 120,000 solicitors in England and Wales, and is charged with protecting the public "by ensuring that solicitors meet high standards, and by acting when risks are identified." It appears that sometimes, the SRA will decide to "intervene" in a law firm, which means that they will walk in and tell all of the lawyers and staff to clear their desks and go home because the law firm has been closed effective immediately.

Such an intervention occurred this week, The Warwick Courier reports (via ABA Journal), when the SRA rolled in to a British law firm called Blakemores Solicitors and shut it down after 50 years in business. According to The Law Society Gazette, all 250 solicitors and employees of Blakemores were called into a mid-morning yesterday and "told to get their possessions from their desks and go home."

The SRA stated that in order to protect Blakemores' clients, former clients and trust beneficiaries, it would "stop the firm from operating, take possession of all documents and papers held by the firm including clients' paper, and take possession of all money held by the firm including clients' money." Visitors to the Blakemores website are now redirected to the website of Stephensons Solicitors LLP, a law firm that the SRA has appointed to handle the intervention. 

According to The Law Society Gazette, Blakemores once had an "innovative and fast-growing" operation under the consumer brand "Lawyers2you," but it was hit hard by a combination of legal aid cuts and the shrinking of the personal injury market. As recently as 2010, Blakemores' Lawyers2you received an award for the "Most Innovative Marketing Idea 2010" by consultancy 360 Legal Group. 

Posted by Bruce Carton on March 12, 2013 at 04:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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