Systech at forefront of impending alternative business structure opportunities

October 16, 2011

The next phase in the integration of legal services within Systech International is almost upon us.

Systech has always been aware of the benefits of a single source and co-ordinated commercial, contracts, planning and legal service and the business has now been providing such a service for more than 10 years. This arrangement was formalised in 2007 through the Systech/SLS Solicitors association whilst last year SLS was rebranded as Systech Solicitors.

Systech International is currently planning for the next stage in the process which will see an application being made for Systech Solicitors to operate as analternative business structure [ABS].

ABS’s are a new form of practice that will allow non-lawyer organisations to provide legal services, and lawyers much greater flexibility in the way they practice. The introduction of ABS’s will allow much wider options in how lawyers and non-lawyers can share the management and control of a business and will allow external investment and ownership of law firms.

ABS’s cannot be authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority [SRA] until it is a licensing authority. The SRA has applied (on behalf of the Law Society) to theLegal Services Board[LSB] to become a licensing authority for the purpose of regulating ABS’s. The LSB approved the application on 13 June 2011 and recommended the SRA's designation as a licensing authority. A parliamentary process now needs to be followed to designate the SRA as a licensing authority and secondary legislation will be needed to give the SRA the necessary powers. This is expected to happen by the end of 2011.

It is anticipated that ABS will see specialist practices opening in a number of niche markets and Systech is very well placed to be at the forefront in the construction and engineering sectors. We have taken soundings from our clients and their consensus is that a fully integrated commercial/legal practice is an attractive option.

We look forward to the SRA being awarded its licensing authority so that we can submit our application for ABS and take the next step in creating a fully integrated client service.