A legal technology firm is promoting a business plan which it says will allow solicitors to continue working with personal injury referrers.
The company, Epoq, has created LegalGo, a free assistance plan that claims management companies distribute to claimants.
The CMC signs up the claimant through an online registration process using the claimant’s contact details, with an email then sent to the claimant enabling them to accept the terms of the plan and contact the law firm directly.
Epoq said the product complies with the referral fee ban as the PI claim comes direct from the claimant. The law firm then pays the CMC for telling the client about the law firm.
Richard Cohen, solicitor and executive chairman of Epoq, said the scheme offered a ‘much-needed lifeline’ to personal injury firms and referrers affected by April’s ban.
‘Unlike some dubious models that have been marketed to law firms and referrers as a way to subvert the ban through contorted workarounds, LegalGo offers a simple proposition that deliver extra value for claimants and solicitors,’ he said.
Epoq said the referral fee ban prohibits a third party from providing information about the client to the law firm – whereas in this case it is passed by the client to the law firm.
LegalGo also includes a general legal helpline, online legal document drafting services and referrals for other legal services.
The scheme is the latest in a series of business plans set up to find ways to comply with the ban. Some claims managers have set up their own marketing schemes, while existing law firms have formed joint ventures with insurers that used to receive referral fees.
Speaking last week, Solicitors Regulation Authority chief executive Antony Townsend said the regulator favoured talking with firms to ensure compliance rather than immediate disciplinary action.
‘Where we have significant concerns, we are talking to firms to help them put things right.’
However he added: ‘Of course we will take formal enforcement action against any firm flagrantly breaching the rules. Those unwilling to change their practices and who fail to co-operate will face action.’