Review of Legal Services Regulation - Thoughts for the unregulated

In May, this year the Ministry of Justice confirmed that it was not intending to change the structure of legal services regulation. Justice minister Alex Chalk MP said in a parliamentary paper there were ‘no plans’ to review the framework which is built around the Legal Services Act 2007.

This statement was made in spite of the fact that Professor Stephen Mason, UCL, had yet to publish the final report on The Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation. After almost two years of research, three working papers and numerous consultations, it would appear that the MoJ had jumped the gun.

Indeed, the interim report, published in September last year, indicated quite strongly that the regulatory landscape was not fit for purpose and needed a major overhaul.

The Legal Services Act was not intended for today’s innovation within the legal sector and leaves little room to enable new technology to be taken under the regulatory wing. Statutory restrictions have prevented the regulatory framework to adapt to a more diverse legal service provision.

The final report that was published in June this year and sets out a series of proposals, which could provide both short term and long- term reform.

Currently we are in a state of ‘all’ or ‘nothing’, with some legal service providers being left out in the cold, whilst others suffer the burden of ‘Title Based’ regulation opposed to ‘Activity Based’ regulation, that it can be argued to be eminently more sensible.

The key points for the unregulated providers to take note, is that reform is inevitable, and there is a new call to bring the unregulated into the framework in the short-term.

If the framework is developed in relation to ‘activities’ then willwriters and paralegals should think very carefully about being left out, if they do not adjust to new criteria that will undoubtedly be forthcoming in relation to (a) categorising the risk of certain activities (will writing has already been muted to ‘high risk’) and (b) ensuring that providers of ‘activites’, meet the new standards of competency whatever they may be.

The report does however highlight and more importantly recognise that there is an independent voluntary regulator, the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR), who acts as a regulator for all those offering legal services outside the regulated professions.

The way forward for the unregulated sector is to provide a united front and organisations who are interested in protecting the unregulated sector are advised to contact the PPR.

To find out more about the Professional Paralegal Register visit www.ppr.org.uk

PPR’s response to the Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation Report

Professional Paralegal Register’s response to the Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation Report.

The centre for Ethics and Law, University College London, have published the final report on the review of legal services regulation, undertaken by Professor Stephen Mason. The review entitled, ‘Reforming Legal Services – Regulation Beyond The Echo Chambers’ has been welcomed by the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR).

The PPR’s Managing Director, Rita Leat agrees with Professor Mason on the need to further separate the roles of representation and regulation from organisations that purport to ‘self-regulate’, which is insult on both their members and consumers common-sense that it is not possible to regulate yourself.

Regulatory independence as offered by the PPR for all those working in the unregulated sector is readily available to those who seek to promote the professional offering of legal services.

Activity-based as opposed to title-based regulation has been championed by the PPR for many years, consumers need to know that their legal service provider is competent, not that they have gained a certain job title. The Paralegal sector is evidence to this, with the most diverse set of job titles.

The PPR rejects the protectionist attitudes of some regulators and applauds this report for putting consumers at its heart.

The PPR agree the urgent need to regulate technology in the legal services arena to enable consumers to access legal services in an affordable and transparent way.

The PPR is ready to increase its position as the regulator for current unauthorised providers and offers its services to support the regulatory framework in England and Wales. A detailed analysis is underway and a further insight to the report will be published by the PPR in due course.

The PPR looks forward to continuing to work with Professor Mason, the Legal Services Board, the Legal Ombudsman, and government to assist with the development and adoption of regulatory change that will benefit the sector and consumers.

Virtual Networking and CPD event for Conveyancing Paralegals

Central Law Training is delighted to be joined by Lorraine Richardson for an online networking and CPD event for conveyancing paralegals in England and Wales.

Date: Wednesday 17 June 2020

Time: 6pm to 7:30pm

This event is free to those on the Professional Paralegal Register, members of the Institute of Paralegals and to CLT paralegal students and alumni

What we will cover
Lorraine will discuss some of the challenges facing property paralegals and support staff at this difficult time including:

  • What if your client has exchanged but cannot complete due to Covid-19?
  • What if the completion date is missed?

If you want Lorraine to answer a question, do send it to us in advance. You will have the chance to ask Lorraine questions during the event.

TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE CLICK HERE

About Lorraine
Lorraine is an experienced property solicitor and trainer who is a popular conference and CPD speaker. Lorraine is now freelance but when in practice she ran a branch office and was a partner and the COLP for her firm.

She also designs and delivers property and legal skills related courses and online materials including Conveyancing Quality Scheme training for the Law Society of England and Wales.

Lorraine has developed a skill for writing and delivering webinars and aims to produce work that is both interesting and accessible for the viewer. Lorraine is the major writer for the monthly update journal for practitioners, the ‘Practical Lawyer.’

Testimonial
“Guru offering practical, intelligent guide to conveyancing challenges – comprehensive, comprehensible and GAGS … highly recommended … “
James Pirrie (Director, Family Law in Partnership Ltd & former Board member Resolution)

Professional Paralegal Register appoints new board member to join the Register’s Regulatory Committee

PRESS RELEASE

The Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) announces that the Board has appointed a new board member Stephen Rippingale-Peters to join the Register’s Regulatory Committee (RRC).

Stephen joins the RRC with over 28 years of experience working in the legal sector and is a professional Paralegal who runs his own businesses specialising in complex investigation on a variety of subject matters both in the UK and overseas. He was the first investigator in a scheme to assist victims of fraud, being piloted by the Home Office and Police, and was engaged over an extended period in the identification of personal assets of a Director following the collapse of a major listed company. Most recently Stephen was responsible for compliance planning and strategy in his role as COFA at a Law Firm.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Paralegals and is Registered in Tier 4 on the Professional Paralegal Register.

On his appointment Stephen said “I am delighted to have the opportunity to join the Board of the RRC and I look forward to contributing to the important work of the Board in promoting professional paralegals and building trust and consumer confidence in line with the aims of the Professional Paralegal Register”.

Amanda Lee, Chair of the RRC, commented:
“I am delighted to welcome Stephen to the RRC. His knowledge and experience will allow him to make a valuable contribution from the outset. I look forward to working with him as we continue to uphold the high standards set by the PPR to protect consumers.”

The focus of the RRC is to ensure that as the voluntary register and regulator for Paralegals the PPR operates within good practice principles, ensuring a robust framework of proportionate regulation to maintain the high standards that Paralegals must abide by. The RRC comprises of a non-executive Chair and board members who hear complaints and appeals of paralegals on the register.

Contact

Rita Leat, Managing Director +44 (0) 1442 253183

Abby Dennis, Head of Memberships & Events +44 (0) 7511 306379

Notes for Editor

The Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) was developed in direct response to the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) that recommended a body should come forward to regulate paralegals who are working outside of the regulated sector.

The PPR is the independent voluntary register and regulator for Paralegals in England and Wales.

The PPR has two aims, to provide greater consumer choice and protection and to recognise professionals Paralegals as the fourth arm of the legal profession.

The PPR is a voluntary scheme for Paralegals who do not work in solicitors’ firms and is not governed by the legal services regulator, The Legal Services Board.

The PPR defines Paralegals into four tiers so that Paralegals can be clearly identified and valued for the professionals that they are.

Paralegals on the register must be a member of one of the PPR’s recognised bodies.

The PPR’s Register Regulatory Committee (RRC) can hear complaints relating to conduct only in respect of Registered Paralegals.

Professional Paralegal Practitioners who hold a Paralegal Practising Certificate (PPC) are fully regulated for their conduct and services and clients can utilise a compensation fund when things go wrong.

For further information visit www.ppr.org.uk

Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and here at the PPR we want to share with you some tips to help you consider your wellbeing and to act if you feel you need to. The tips are provided by the NHS and although general in nature, they remind us all that we need to look after ourselves to enable us to look after others.

For alternative support with low level mental health concerns, you can call:

SANE 0300 304 7000 (4:30pm – 10:30pm) [email protected] www.sane.org.uk

Samaritans 116 123 (24 hour helpline – free to call) www.samaritans.org.uk

Anxiety UK 08444 775 774 (Monday – Friday, 9:30am – 5:30pm) www.anxietyuk.org.uk

Rethink Mental Illness 0300 5000 927 (Monday – Friday, 9:30am – 4pm) www.rethink.org

NHS 111 111 (24 hour helpline – free to call)

LawCare

0800 279 6888

9am – 7:30pm Monday-Friday 10am – 4pm Weekends and Bank Holidays

https://www.lawcare.org.uk

The Paralegal Profession in 2020 - Press Release

In late 2019, TotallyLegal asked over 3,000 legal professionals about the details of their daily working lives for our Audience Insight Report. The responses we received included those from over 300 Paralegals who, at 9% of the total respondents, make up one of the largest groups in our audience.

We looked deeper into the data provided by our Paralegal audience to gain a greater understanding of how these professionals fared in 2019, before looking forward to the state of the profession in 2020 and beyond. With invaluable contributions from Institute of Paralegals’ CEO Rita Leat and practising Paralegal Gemma Williams, we wrote a long-read article exploring the inner workings of the role.

With a fifth of all Paralegals more than 3 years in to their current role and 32% offered a bonus on top of their basic earnings, one of our key findings concerned the growing number of apparent Career Paralegals among our audience. Taking on the fee earning work traditionally reserved for Solicitors and filling the gap left by cuts to legal aid, these professionals aren’t using the role as a stepping-stone to qualification or as a means of gaining experience but are instead choosing to carve out long-term Paralegal careers. In the article, we explore in greater detail why this is the case, before discussing with experts the impact this may have on the profession in the coming years.

Another key issue uncovered by our study is that of pay gaps – both gender and ethnic – within the Paralegal profession. Elsewhere, we look at the practice areas most in need of Paralegal talent and the locations in which Paralegals want to work, before breaking down the different benefits available to Paralegals and revealing which type of employers are most likely to offer them.

Additionally, the article provides the opportunity for practising Paralegals to benchmark their current earnings based on tenure, experience level, location, practice area and more.

If you are a Paralegal looking to discover more about the inner workings of your profession, hoping to see what the future may hold for your role or simply interested in comparing your salary with your contemporaries, TotallyLegal’s The Paralegal Profession in 2020 makes for essential reading.

Coronavirus: Managing Director Message

Rita Leat, PPR's Managing DirectorIt has been a very difficult time for all of us since Covid-19 came unwanted into our lives. Here at the PPR it is business as usual albeit we are working from different locations.

Our RRC Committee will function as normal and so there are no changes to the rules, procedures or policies at this time.

The most important thing is that you keep physically and mentally safe and follow the government guidelines.

Keep communicating with friends, family, clients and us by any distant medium you have available to you.   If you have any concerns about your registration or Paralegal Practising Certificate then please do contact us as we are here to help.

The Institute of Paralegals, one of our Recognised Bodies has published two articles in the last few days which may be useful 5 Tips on Taking Instructions Remotely and Paralegal Business: A Guide to Business Continuity and we are reminding paralegals that they have access to LawCare should they need to talk about anything that is worrying them.

Keep Safe,

Rita Leat

Managing Director, The PPR.

COVID-19 update - what we are doing

The Professional Paralegal Register have taken the advice of the UK Government and have implemented the necessary precautions to ensure the safety and well being of our staff, members and attendees to our events.

Our staff are now working from home.  Working hours remain the same (Monday to Friday, 8am to 3pm) and we can still be contacted by email, telephone and via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you are planning on sending anything by post, we will probably get it late or not at all, so our advice is to send anything you need to via email at [email protected]

The team may be working remotely for the time being but our commitment to serving both our members, recognised bodies and consumers with their enquiries remains.

The PPR also made the decision to postpone the National Paralegal Awards 2020 Gala Final until the 18 September 2020.  The timings and venue will remain the same.  To read the announcement sent to our finalists, judges and sponsors please visit this article National Paralegal Awards Gala Postponed on the National Paralegal Awards website.

In addition, due to the uncertainty of what we can expect over the coming months the Paralegal Conference will also be postponed until 2021.

We’ll continue to update you as our plans evolve. We urge you all to look after yourselves, your families, colleagues and friends in what we know, is an unsettling time.

Finalists Announced for Prestigious Paralegal Awards

PRESS RELEASE

The Professional Paralegal Register have announced the finalists from 16 individual and business categories that have been shortlisted for the 2020 National Paralegal Awards.

These professional legal awards, now in their second year are the only awards dedicated to rewarding and recognising the outstanding work of Paralegals and law firms that support the development of the paralegal profession.

The winners will be announced at a gala black tie ceremony at the Grand Connaught Rooms in the West End on Friday 27 March 2020.

The independent judging panel which was comprised of 17 legal and business professionals was overseen by Head Judge Amir Ali, Chairman of the CCUA.

Amir Ali said:

“I and the judging panel were very impressed by the high standard of entries shortlisted. There are many very talented paralegals and firms dedicated to supporting the development of the profession – judging the entries was no easy feat!”

Amir continued to say “Paralegals are the backbone of the Legal Sector, often at the coalface who receive little or no recognition for the vital role they perform within the industry, and professional awards such as these are a fantastic opportunity to congratulate all finalists on their achievements and successes”.

Managing Director of the Professional Paralegal Register, Rita Leat said:

“Congratulations to all those who have been shortlisted for the National Paralegal Awards. Yet again, the number of high quality entries we received represents the breadth and range of paralegal activity and excellent work undertaken in the UK. Thank you to our judges for their work and we look forward to meeting the finalists and our sponsors at our awards gala.”

This year’s headline sponsor is Fraser and Fraser and categories were sponsored by a variety of businesses who work with the legal sector, and legal membership organisations including The Institute of Paralegals, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys and The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.

This years shortlisted finalists can be found at National Paralegal Awards 2020 Finalists.

NOTES TO EDITOR

  1. The organisers of the National Paralegal Awards are The Professional Paralegal Register (PPR), a voluntary registered scheme to promote professional paralegals as a recognised fourth arm of the legal profession and to enhance consumer choice and protection. Only Paralegals that are on this register are regulated by us.
  2. The National Paralegal Awards are open to any paralegals working within the United Kingdom and they do not need to be registered with the PPR, hold a Paralegal Practising Certificate or be a member of a membership organisation.
  3. The National Paralegal Awards event is being held on Friday 27 March 2020.  For more information about the event, please contact Abby at [email protected]

Join the conversation about the awards on Twitter using #PPRNPAAWARDS #PPRPARALEGALAWARDS

LegalEx 2020

LegalEx makes its much-anticipated return to ExCeL London on the 18th & 19th March 2020, hosting the most comprehensive and all-encompassing event dedicated to facilitating business growth and professional development for legal professionals and firms.

Your FREE ticket will give you access to 150 cutting-edge exhibitors and over 100 CPD accredited educational seminars from some of the world’s top legal experts, innovators and most forward-thinking speakers.

The two-day event is a great opportunity to get the very latest on strategies, practices and technology solutions for the legal sector with content tracks covering Marketing, Business Development, Legal Tech, Client Retention & Satisfaction, Conveyancing and Regulation & Legal Skills.

All under one roof, you’ll be able to explore the latest tools, products, services, resources and innovations that are transforming the legal industry. LegalEx is the leading industry event for ambitious and successful legal firms looking to modernise their practices.

So, what are you waiting for? Register for your FREE ticket now via legalex.co.uk.