Thursday, December 08, 2016

Duty Solicitors - an update December 8th 2016

Duty Solicitors - an update We have had a few enquiries over the last week or so from new firms who have been awarded contracts for crime and on the lookout for duty solicitors and crime supervisors. There is a guide to the regulations regarding the employment of crime supervisors and duty solicitors included on our website at http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/crime-solicitor-contract-2017-extracts-relevant-to-duty-solicitors-and-supervisors/ and the points below relate to our intel so far on the situation:

1. There are reports of a large London firm requiring all their duty solicitors to become limited companies in order to work. Not sure whether the LAA have agreed this structure but it appears to us to be an effort to shift liability for tax and NI onto the duty solicitors. Not entirely sure what HMRC will make of it either!

2. No indication from any firm as to salary levels for duty solicitors or supervisors. Some have agreed that the range should be £30-40k with supervisors being at the £35-40k level.

3. If these contracts go in the same direction as family contracts did in 2011 it is likely the smaller firms will work out a way to take supervisors on zero hours contracts to do the bare minimum required. The LAA have actually managed to define how many hours and firms a supervisor can work for this time round..

4. No indication either on monthly retainer arrangements - these presumably are still valid because the LAA cannot regulate the relationship between the duty solicitor and the firm but have specified the minimum hours required. Neither has there been any indication on hourly rates etc..

5. The last round of rota slots saw rates of about £800-1200 per month for most retainer arrangements.

We believe that when the family contracts came out in 2011 quite a few law firms simply walked away from LAA funded work and the smaller practices picked up the work. We are not sure most continued with it after realising it was going to be extremely difficult to generate an income.. Crime is of course slightly different as still LAA funded unlike most areas of family law..

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

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