Partners at Nottingham-based firm Invictus Legal have become the latest lawyers to take advantage of the bar regulator’s entity business model in order to switch regulator.
Husband and wife Aurang and Zarina Zeb, two solicitor-advocates turned barristers, ran Invictus Legal as a solicitors’ firm for five years, before opting to set up a new company as a Bar Standards Board-regulated entity.
Aurang Zeb explained that the move seemed like the ‘logical choice’ after his wife expressed an interest in becoming a barrister, but he added that certainty in obtaining professional indemnity insurance and a lighter regulatory touch were also factors driving the decision.
In April solicitor Mark Johnson opted to license his business as a single-person bar entity in order to be able to obtain insurance through the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund and obtain ‘proportionate’ regulation.
The diminishing pool of insurers and the uncertainty firms face when securing insurance made the bar’s mutual fund a ‘significant determining factor’, Aurang Zeb said.
He explained that Invictus Legal was one of the firms caught out when Latvian insurer Balva declared it was in default in 2013, which left the firm without insurance until just days before the deadline.
Originally Aurang Zeb opted to continue to run an SRA-regulated firm even after he switched to the bar. This allowed him to employ fee-earners which would not have been possible as a chambers.
But the new entity model will allow him to continue to employ the three fee-earners currently working for the firm.
The entity has been registered under the name Invictus Law, and will replace Invictus Legal, which will close by the end of the year.
The two barristers will perform the same types of work they did at Invictus Legal, including civil litigation and family matters. But they will no longer offer conveyancing, as they cannot hold client money under the BSB.