Friday, October 14, 2011

In Practice: Outsourcing, more OFR and some advice

There seems to be no end to the number of practice notes issued by the Law Society. The latest, published yesterday, is on the subject of outsourcing. As the Law Society says: "Outsourcing is a growing area in legal service delivery. This practice note gives an overview of outsourcing and the regulatory requirements you need to consider." Interestingly, there seems to be no definition of 'outsourcing', which seems a little odd - I wouldn't have thought it hard to define. There is, however, a short list of examples of outsourcing in section 3 of the practice note, including "activities which would normally been undertaken by a paralegal". Hmm. I would guess the most common example though is the outsourcing of secretarial services. If your firm is thinking about entering into, or who has already entered into, an outsourcing arrangement, then this practice note is for you.

The prize for the headline of the week goes to This is our final OFR, an article in the Gazette, in which Paul Rogerson talks to SRA chief executive Antony Townsend "about the implementation of outcomes-focused regulation in a rapidly changing legal services market". If that is not enough OFR for you, then you can read this article, also in the Gazette, in which Charles Plant, chair of the board of the SRA, explains how OFR provides a sound framework for the future. "With outcomes-focused regulation", he says, "we will focus on the issues that really matter and which suit the fast-paced, modern and liberalised legal services market". I'm sold...

Finally, we must not think that being advised as to how to practise as lawyers is a new phenomenon. Obiter in the Gazette this week goes down memory lane to look at a 1951 article, which in turn looked at The Compleat Sollicitor, published in 1668. The book was intended for the "Sollicitor teaching his Clyent to run through and manage his own business as well in His Majesties Superiour Courts at Westminster as in the Mayor’s Court, Court of Hustings and other Inferiour Courts," and includes advice upon how "Safely to Conduct the Zealous Pilgrim through the sullen deserts and over the craggy precipices of the Herculean Voyage towards the intricate practice of the Laws Mysterys." Remarkably, The Compleat Sollicitor is available on Amazon. I'm off to buy it now...

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