I attended this conference last month in London. There were a number of impressive speakers, including Des Hudson of the Law Society, Anthony Townsend of the SRA and a team of financial speakers. Interesting points raised were:
Des Hudson: He thinks the ban on referral fees will be ineffective. Ultimately, we should not deviate from putting our clients before our own interests.
Anthony Townsend: Whilst the SRA won’t give safe harbour guidance about referral fees, it would enter into informal discussions. David Jabbari (the CEO of Connect2Law) has already done this, and the SRA has confirmed that they think that our C2L arrangements in respect of Clin Neg and PII work are acceptable.
Jeff Winn (Winn Solicitors – an RTA firm): Discussed the importance of reducing operating costs to keep profits up.
Financial team: Productivity is influenced by staffing, honest time-recording, pricing and business development work. Firms need to reserve cash for PII, VAT, practising certificates etc. Positive cashflow + affordable debt = growth. (Although I would point out that this was a banker speaking!)
The recurring theme throughout the day was putting the customer first!