Taylor Wessing creates LSA working party as firm eyes outside investment

Taylor Wessing has formed a working party to monitor opportunities emerging from the Legal Services Act (LSA), with the group concentrating on radical reforms to allow external investment in law firms.

The five-partner group includes financial institutions chief Tim Stocks, finance partner Peter Shepherd, real estate partner Adam Marks and intellectual property partner Niri Shanmuganathan and will be chaired by newly-elected managing partner Tim Eyles.

The group will review the impact of the LSA, the sweeping deregulation of legal services that will allow outside investment into law firms under alternative business structures (ABS) and allow law firms to form partnerships with non-lawyers.

The UK top 50 law firm is placing a particular focus on the case for taking outside investment under the new ABS regime, which is expected to come into full force by 2011.

Taylor Wessing and Olswang are among a handful of major City firms to have publicly acknowledged interest in benefitting from LSA reforms.

Olswang is considering changing its current structure to a legal disciplinary partnership (LDP), which will allow patent attorneys and non-lawyer management to enter into the partnership.

Earlier this year, the Legal Services Board (LSB) launched its first-ever business plan for the LSA, which came into effect in April and will run until March 2010. The creation of the LSB as an oversight body for front-line legal regulators was a major element of the LSA.

The LSB plan includes a number of goals for the coming year, including appointing a consumer panel and issuing a discussion paper on the development of ABSs.

Taylor Wessing on the Legal Week Wiki