The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has given the go-ahead for the first businesses to operate as BSB-regulated entities.
It announced on 8 April that it had approved the first 15 applications to set up the new entities – companies or partnerships that provide advocacy, litigation, and expert legal advice services. The BSB has been accepting applications since the start of the year and has so far received 90 expressions of interest.
BSB director of supervision Oliver Hanmer, said: “We know from our conversations with members of the Bar that there is real enthusiasm for entities regulated by us. I’m sure these 15 are just the beginning.
“We hope this will give barristers and other lawyers more freedom to react to changes in the market and to devise new ways of working so as to remain competitive and best serve their clients. I would urge those thinking of applying or interested in finding out more to get in touch with us.”
Barristers can share ownership of BSB-regulated entities with other lawyers so that they can offer clients a wider range of services by pooling resources. The structure also enables them to benefit from sharing the risks of investing in the businesses.
An entity authorised by the BSB has 21 days from when it receives authorisation in which to provide evidence that it has appropriate insurance arranged, without which it cannot provide legal services. The minimum level of cover each entity is expected to have is £500,000 per claim.
The BSB is not currently authorising Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) – entities with non-lawyer owners and managers – but will soon apply separately to the Legal Services Board to become a licensing authority of these.
Milsted Langdon is experienced in working with barristers and can provide expert advice on the tax, accounting and other financial and strategic issues to inform exploratory and pre-planning work around establishing a BSB-regulated entity. For more information, please contact us.