The Short Read
Vero Law Limited (“Vero Law”) is a legal consultancy and is not regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Law Society of Scotland.
When we are providing services to our clients through Vero Law, our consultants are not acting as solicitors.
The Long Read
Vero Law provides legal guidance in non-contentious commercial, intellectual property, data protection and technology matters, which are not activities reserved to solicitors. Prior to setting up Vero Law, our legal consultants acted as solicitors. Now, as legal consultants, we carry out the same activities, using the same skills and knowledge, but without being authorised or regulated as solicitors or as a law firm.
Why has Vero Law chosen to operate in this way? The answer is that, like many of our clients, Vero Law is a start-up, and we operate in as lean and agile a manner as possible. Practising as a regulated law firm requires the annual payment of various contributions (including a proportion of the relevant practice’s turnover) to the Law Societies and/or the Solicitors Regulation Authority. It also increases insurance costs by a significant factor and requires management time to be dedicated to prescribed regulatory administration. All in all, our view is that we can run leaner as a legal consultancy. Furthermore, by keeping our running and administrative costs down, we are able to pass on the benefit of savings to our clients and provide our services at a much more competitive rate than solicitors providing the same services.
Key Distinctions – Law Firm vs Legal Consultancy
There are, however, important points to note from our clients’ perspective. While our view is that the cost benefit to the client outweighs the downsides of using a legal consultancy, we want our clients to be fully informed of the position to make up their own minds. The key distinctions are set out below:
- Solicitors are required to maintain extremely high and mandatory levels of professional indemnity insurance cover. Vero Law maintains a much lower level of professional indemnity cover (although we are willing to take out additional cover in relation to specific transactions or projects).
- Solicitors are subject to rules issued by the Law Society of Scotland or the Solicitors Regulation Authority relating to the conduct of their business. We are not subject to those rules. In our view, this makes very little difference to the client, as it is clearly in our best interests to act honestly, whether or not we are subject to written rules requiring us to do so.
- If you are unhappy with the service received from a solicitor, you can raise a complaint with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission or the Legal Ombudsman. If you’re unhappy with our service, then you cannot complain via these routes – you would have to raise your complaint with us directly. However, we’ve had zero complaints so far!
- Advice from Solicitors may be “privileged”. Therefore, correspondence between a client and solicitor can, if made confidentially and for the purposes of legal advice, be withheld from a court or third party in connection with legal proceedings. Advice from non-regulated advisors is not “privileged”, which means that our advice may be disclosable in evidence in the context of a legal claim. In this sense, our correspondence and advice is treated in the same manner as advice from your accountants, management consultants, HR consultants or anyone else who is not a regulated legal advisor (such as a solicitor or barrister). However, as we do not advise on contentious matters, the risk to our clients is minimal.