Plainlaw becomes sixth ABS to be licensed by SRA

Plainlaw becomes sixth ABS to be licensed by SRA

A property law firm based in Oxfordshire has become the sixth alternative business structure to be licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Plainlaw is a firm which specialises in the areas of property, housing and construction law.  There are three partners, Philip Horn, Michael Horn and a corporate entity, Ltd.  The senior partner is Philip Horn.
The ABS licence has five additional conditions.  These are:
Any remuneration paid by the licensed body for the services of Mr Philip Horn must be paid to him directly and not through the corporate member, Ltd.
Any profit share from the licensed body due to Mr Philip Horn as an individual member must be paid directly to him and not through the corporate member, Ltd.
Mr Philip Horn must not provide any legal service through Ltd.
The corporate member, Ltd, must not be held out to the public as providing any type of legal services.
The sole purpose of Ltd is to hold an interest in the licensed body, allowing for non-lawyer involvement, and provide non-legal services to that body only.
Philip Horn told Legal Futures that becoming an ABS gives the firm “additional flexibility in terms of structuring our business going forward.”  He stated that the firm saw the concept of ABS as offering potential for future growth.  
Horn said that the firm has “consistently acted quickly to exploit innovations in the legal sector which allow us to operate as efficiently as possible in providing our clients with excellent service”, being an early adopter of LLP status and also one of the first firms to achieve the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation.
He added:  “We have developed a niche in providing an on-demand real estate support service to other leading law firms, many of whom will themselves be considering the benefits of converting to ABS status.”
It is the third small firm to be licensed as an ABS after Lawbridge and John Welch & Stammers. 
It will be interesting to see whether other firms move from solicitors firms to ABS status, and whether this will have an effect on lender panels.  
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