London councils slash £1.5m in legal spend

first_imgSix London boroughs have joined together to slash almost £1.5m a year in legal fees. The London Boroughs Legal Alliance (LBLA), which links lawyers from Harrow, Hammersmith & Fulham, Camden, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Kensington & Chelsea borough councils, aims to save £1.44m a year by using fewer private law firms, locums and barristers. The LBLA will share a new panel of just 16 law firms, far fewer than the combined total of firms used by the six councils previously. The panel is understood to include national firm Weightmans and south-west firms Ashfords and TLT. London firm Moon Beever will give specialist advice on debt recovery and insolvency and north-east firm Dickinson Dees will advise on pensions, private finance initiatives and public private partnerships. Hugh Peart, Harrow Council’s director of legal and governance services, said local authorities needed the best advice available, but also had a duty to get best value for council taxpayers. ‘I am confident the LBLA will do just that.’ Guy Goodman, chairman of the Solicitors in Local Government group, said: ‘Procuring external providers intelligently is good practice. It reduces external spend and frees up funds to strengthen in-house teams.’ The six councils will also collaborate over the procurement of ancillary legal services, such as online knowledge and case management systems, and reduce training costs by sharing resources and budgets.last_img read more

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Solicitors are not as good at writing wills as they assume

first_img Follow Rachel on Twitter Solicitors offering wills are quite rightly worried about how they will compete with new providers, both on- and off-line, as they increasingly enter the market. If matching these interlopers on price isn’t an option because of the higher regulatory costs faced by law firms, then the obvious approach is to outclass them by emphasising quality over cost; to highlight the fact that wills written by solicitors are more legally sound, and less risky, than those drawn up by non-solicitors. That argument was dealt a serious blow this week. As part of its research project into whether will-writers should be regulated, the Legal Services Consumer Panel took on a panel of experts, including solicitors, to assess a sample of 101 wills. The experts judging the wills had no idea whether they had been drafted by solicitors, will-writers, or indeed a chap who had just stepped off the Clapham Omnibus. But solicitors firms should be aware of what they found. One in four of the wills was ‘failed’ by the panel, and more than one in three was scored as either ‘poor’, or ‘very poor’. The worrying aspect for the profession is that just as many of the failed wills were drawn up by solicitors as by will-writers. And it was not just the difficult ones; simple wills were almost as likely to fail the test as those covering more complex circumstances. So what were the problems? To quote the report itself: ‘Key problems where the will was not legally valid or did not meet the client’s stated requirements, were: inadequate treatment of the client’s needs; the client’s requests not being met; potentially illegal actions; inconsistent or contradictory language; insufficient detail; and poor presentation. ‘Key problems relating to poor advice include: cutting and pasting of precedents; unnecessary complexity; and use of outdated terminology.’ No doubt many readers will feel safe in the knowledge that this does not apply to their firm. But would it do any harm to take a sample of recent wills and check them against those points? Particularly the problem of over-complexity. The report adds that the evidence suggests a need to raise standards ‘across the market’, as the quality of wills prepared by solicitors is ‘disappointing’. It proposes tacking this by strengthening the will-writing elements of the legal practice course, and introducing re-accreditation in the sector. Re-accreditation would, of course, ladle even greater costs on an already heavily burdened profession; and in doing so would make the need to compete on quality rather than price even greater than ever.last_img read more

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The fireproof contractor

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletterslast_img read more

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An affair of the heart …

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

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Thank heavens for the Olympics

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

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Building buys a pint …

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The third amendment

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but so does the OFT

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Some finishing touches

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Paul Morrell’s first year at Whitehall: Paul’s plan

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

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