Welcome to our 100th issue. We have published this regularly (and on time) since 2004, before the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) was created, and before law firms entered the regulated sector under the Money Laundering Regulations 2003.
In addition to reporting on developments in our areas of practice, professional regulation and professional indemnity insurance law, we have tried to provide some insight into future developments.
Our first issue noted that many firms had not updated their procedures for anti-money laundering (AML) – an issue which the SRA are now picking up on (virtual) visits. Our prediction of a rise in email scams and viruses perhaps fell short of mentioning the full extent we see now. The Clementi review was ongoing, but ABSs had yet to emerge.
On professional indemnity, we noted that firms had their fingers burned by inadvertently taking on risk under the successor practice provisions – still a major issue occupying much of our time to this day (and see also our comment under the Legal Ombudsman heading below).
We also noted an increase in large claims, including claims over the indemnity limit; this is a trend which has not gone away, and we are advising many firms whose potential liabilities are substantially over their insurance limits, many of these arising from buyer-funded development schemes.