Alternative business structures

The emergence of alternative business structures (ABSs) is set to have a profound effect on how legal advice will be delivered in the future.

There are new entrants to the market who bring with them war chests of funds; brand strength; ‘bricks and clicks’ outlets and sophisticated service delivery. These new entrants are well placed to offer integrated large-scale commercial legal solutions.

Compli has an impressive track record in this sphere. Whether law firms or others are seeking a project manager for the lengthy application process, assistance reviewing a draft application or advice appealing an SRA decision, our specialist team is here to help. We have secured ABS licences and waivers for numerous firms and our holistic offering is bolstered by access to Weightmans’ comprehensive portfolio of legal services.

We act for solicitors, barristers, in-house lawyers and other professionals seeking to establish an ABS regulated by the SRA. In addition, we assist in applications to other licensing authorities such as the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

  • Structural advice

    For firms who are considering an application to become an ABS but are unsure of where to start, we can explain the various structural permutations permitted by the SRA and coordinate both with colleagues in our corporate team and accountants within the applicant’s organisation to ensure that the proposed model is both compliant and tax-efficient.

  • Application forms

    No matter how simple or complicated the proposed structure of the ABS, we complete and submit all the application forms, dealing with any queries which then arrive from the SRA.

  • Waiver applications

    If there are compelling commercial or other reasons why the proposed ABS structure is not compatible with regulatory provisions contained in the SRA Handbook, we articulate these concerns to the SRA with a view to obtaining a waiver from the relevant rules.

  • Incidential legal advice

    We can draw upon the expertise of Weightmans’ lawyers to resolve any legal issues that may be encountered during the application process.

  • Negotiation of licence conditions

    Sometimes, an ABS licence or waiver comes with strings attached, and we liaise with the SRA on the applicant’s behalf to broker deals which are commercially attractive and favourable to clients.

  • Supporting documentation

    Because applications are not usually limited to the prescribed forms, we prepare and collate all the relevant information.

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