A virtual law firm founded by the president of the Law Society has today been granted a licence to become an alternative business structure.
Scott-Moncrieff & Associates (SCOMO), run by Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, was added to the list of more than 100 ABSs licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority so far.
The firm applied for the new status to give its lawyers the chance to share profits without assuming the regulatory burden of becoming partners or directors.
Currently around 50 ‘consultants’ are serviced from a central hub in north-west London, retaining 70% of what they bill with the balance going to the firm.
Scott-Moncrieff said: ‘I wanted to convert the firm to an ABS so that anyone working in it could buy shares and benefit from its success without taking on the legal, regulatory and business responsibilities that owners of traditional practices bear. This change will also help with succession planning.
‘What it won't do is change our ethos, our standards, or our commitment to legal aid and access to justice.'
The firm specialises in representing detained patients, life-sentence prisoners and vulnerable children and young people.
It was confirmed at the SRA board meeting yesterday that more than 100 ABS licences have been granted by the SRA since it invited applications in January 2012.
Executive director Samantha Barrass said there had been 40 new applications in the last week alone, with each one now taking just under four months to process.