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Panel sets standard
The Legal Services Consumer Panel has written to law firms and chambers urging them to show commitment to vulnerable clients by adopting an official British Standard on vulnerable consumers. Organisations that adopt the standard will be listed on the panel’s website.
Third parties should be able to complain about a lawyer to the Legal Ombudsman, sector watchdog the Legal Services Consumer Panel said in a response to LeO’s consultation on the rules governing its complaint scheme.
Osborne Clarke prospers
Osborne Clarke has reported an 8% increase in income for 2011/12 to £97.7m, a new high for the national firm. Net profit increased by 6%, and profit per equity partner by 1% to £406,000. Next month, the firm hopes to conclude a merger with Italian firm SLA and Osborne Clarke Spain to create a 145-partner practice with a presence across Europe.
Law firms have until the end of September to provide diversity data about every member of staff, including ethnicity, religious beliefs, socio-economic background and sexual orientation. The timeline emerged last week when the LSB published its qualified approval of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s action plan to improve data collection and transparency around diversity and social mobility.
Magic circle firm Freshfields has introduced a performance-related pay increase structure for associates.
Partner jailed for fraud
A former Hogan Lovells partner has been jailed for three years after defrauding his firm of £1.3m. Christopher Grierson was sentenced last week at Southwark Crown Court after pleading guilty in March to four charges of false accounting. Grierson was charged by the City of London Police following an internal investigation by Hogan Lovells’ transatlantic finance team. He stole the money over a four-year period through false travel expenses.
Silk cut for solicitors
The number of applications for silk has dropped for the third year running, with only two solicitors among the 183 applicants, figures released by the independent selection panel revealed. Nominations have now opened for appointments to honorary silk, for which applications must be received by 31 July.
Rise for Scots trainees
The Law Society of Scotland has agreed a 1.5% rise in recommended pay rates for trainee solicitors, after they were frozen last year. From 1 June, the recommended first- and second-year trainee salaries will be £16,200 and £19,400 respectively.
This follows the Society’s decision in April that all new trainees should be paid at least the national minimum wage.
Pro bono medal for barrister
Chartered legal executive and barrister Muhammed Abdul Muid Khan has received the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives’ 2011 pro bono medal. He was recognised for undertaking various pro bono cases and providing free legal advice at a weekly clinic.