Regulating Law Firms from the Inside: The Role of Compliance Officers for Legal Practice in England and Wales

28 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2018

See all articles by Sundeep Aulakh

Sundeep Aulakh

University of Leeds - Work and Employment Relations

Joan Loughrey

University of Leeds

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

Following the Legal Services Act 2007, which permitted the delivery of legal services through Alternative Business Structures (ABS), the Solicitors Regulation Authority required all regulated legal service firms to appoint Compliance Officers for Legal Practice (COLPs). COLPs are charged with taking reasonable steps to ensure that firms comply with their obligations, which entails interpreting what outcomes‐focused regulation (OFR) requires of the firm. Yet despite their importance, little is known about how compliance roles operate within legal service firms. We addressed this gap through a series of qualitative interviews that explored COLPs’ views of their roles, their attitudes to regulation, in particular to OFR, and to achieving compliance. We found that COLPs are a key regulatory mechanism in the context of firm‐based regulation and OFR and have a critical role to play in protecting and promoting professional values in both ABS and non‐ABS entities.

Suggested Citation

Aulakh, Sundeep and Loughrey, Joan, Regulating Law Firms from the Inside: The Role of Compliance Officers for Legal Practice in England and Wales (June 2018). Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 45, Issue 2, pp. 254-281, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3189158 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jols.12072

Sundeep Aulakh (Contact Author)

University of Leeds - Work and Employment Relations ( email )

Leeds
United Kingdom

Joan Loughrey

University of Leeds ( email )

Leeds, LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

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