The Law Business: 8th to 14th October

Welcome to the weekly 'Law Business' column from the SundayLawReview team, which takes a cursory look at what happened in the business of law within UK as reported by online legal publications throughout last week. Changes in legislation affecting the way lawyers operate, legal education as well as news from the law firms form the main focus of this blog. 

October has fully kicked in for the team here with the traditional downpour, frosty nights, the return of the BBC Question Time and of course, the end to the political conference season. 'One nation' was the big phrase right left and centre over the last fortnight with workers' rights tucked in somewhere in between. 

The week started with the chancellor George Osborne's conference speech, which included a plan to reduce red tape for employers by allowing employees to trade in certain rights for shares in the company. The basics of this deregulation include loss of maternity rights and access to unfair dismissal tribunals in exchange for shares in between £2000 to £5000, with gains from these shares being exempt from capital gains tax. The reaction so far has been lukewarm and it would be interesting to see if employers are likely to take up the chancellor on this offer, especially in the legal sector

The US Anti-Doping Agency finally published its report on the seven times Tour de France winning cyclist Lance Armstrong accusing him of using and distributing performance enhancing substances. Armstrong's lawyer, Sean Breen from the Texas bases law firm Howry, Breen & Herman, has called the report a one sided hatchet job

As the market for legal services expands with the full implications of ABS yet to be realised, the Law Gazette stated this week that Legal services consumers feel intimidated by jargon when they make complaints to law firms and for that reason are more likely to take their complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. The legal ombudsman's advice on this matter appears to be 'be clear, be bold, be fair'. While the content of the ombudsman's guide to consumers aim to simply the process of complaints, this columnist could not fail to draw similarities in aim between this document and what the abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko had set out in his block paintings. A famous painting by Rothko, part of the Seagram mural series, had been in the news this week as a Russian man was arrested for defacing it. The defacer, Mr Umanet is the founder of a movement called 'Yellowism' and denies the charge of criminal damage. Yellowism maintains a philosophy that would be a fitting advertisement in a will writing service provider's website - 'no one lives forever'. 

The most interesting articles on developments, compliance and the business of law including articles cited within TheLawMap 'focus of the day':
  • Lawyers must deal with complaints more effectively to regain trust of “scared” consumers. Regulators must act urgently to improve complaint procedures, a report commissioned by the Legal Ombudsman and Legal Services Consumer Panel has found | Solicitors Journal
  • The Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) will ‘annul the historic rights’ of most solicitors to appear before magistrates’ courts and prompt lawsuits against regulators, the Law Society has warned | Law Gazette
  • Can sole practitioners survive in the new legal marketplace? Alternative business structures may be seen as friend or foe by traditional high street law firms | Guardian Law
  • It’s time for buyers of legal services to flex their muscles and demand higher quality at lower prices | The Lawyer
  • Law students: 'and what else do I get with my masters?' The competitive legal education market means students demand more for their money as universities and law schools strive to 'add value' | Guardian Law 
  • US firms' City bases outstrip UK firms' RPL by 50 per cent | The Lawyer
  • London legal jobs boom defies downturn | Law Gazette
  • Tipping the scales of justice: A barrister’s view | TBIJ
  • Justice minister: we’ll stop weekend courts pilot if critics are right | Law Gazette
  • Elections of the future really to be decided on how much violence we are prepared to countenance? | Law Gazette 
  • Chancery Lane takes stake in OFR support provider | Law Gazette
  • Chris Grayling's self-defence plans greeted with dismay by lawyers 
  • April Jones Facebook comments: should Matthew Woods be in prison? | Joshua Rozenberg - Guardian Law 
  • Judge Constance Briscoe, one of Britain's first black female judges arrested | Guardian Law
  • High-profile judge suspended from judiciary following arrest | Legalweek
  • Courage needed to change law firm structures | The Global Legal Post 
  • Law leaders accused of big firm bias | The Global Legal Post
  • Court of Appeal clarifies 10% damages uplift stance after ABI challenge | Legalweek 
  • QASA will drive solicitors out of criminal law, Law Society warns | Legal Futures 
  • Regulators urged to help “scared” consumers make complaints to their lawyers | Legal Futures
  • Law firms warned on web risks as 20% face online attacks | Legalweek
  • Jackson: the true picture - predicting the shape of things to come | New law Journal 
  • The ten billion dollar law firm | The Global Legal Post
Articles of the week:

The UK and international articles of the week are two pieces selected by @TheLawMap tweeting team based on recommendations from friends and followers of daily law news blog. 
  • Technology in conveyancing - friend or foe? | Eleanor Finnigan in Law Gazette 
  • Future of law: big brands and alternative business structures: Household names such as AA, Saga, Direct Line and BT hoping to join Co-op in the legal sector | Neil Rose in Guardian Law

News from the Law Firms: 

Friday 12th October
Thursday 11th October
Wednesday 10th October
Tuesday 9th October
Monday 8th October

We would like to thank all the publications cited in this week's column. Please notify via @SundayLawReview Twitter handle of any errors or omissions.