New Firm Authorisation
Applying for Authorisation with the SRA
There is much to consider when setting up a new law firm, and this can be a daunting prospect. What legal entity will you choose? Have you considered which accountant to instruct? Who will you open your Business Bank account with? These fundamental questions only form one small part of the often complex, expensive and time-consuming process of getting a new firm authorised with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Here at DG Legal, we are well-versed in each key stage of new firm authorisation. Our years of experience, coupled with an excellent working relationship with the SRA Authorisations Team, gives us a unique advantage in helping you set up your new firm. We have a pre-emptive approach – we like to ensure that the SRA are provided with everything they could possibly need at the outset to reduce or eliminate the need for further questions being asked. Our method streamlines the process and ensures the best and most efficient outcome for your firm.
There are various aspects of the process that can have implications on how the SRA consider your firm and process your application.
DG Legal were there to support me with a very time limited application for authorisation when other Organisations weren't prepared to help.
Director, Yorkshire Legal Limited
Have you thought about …
… Your Governance Structure?
There are different routes and requirements depending on your chosen structure. Who are your chosen Owners and Managers? Are they already deemed approved to hold those positions by the SRA, or will you need to apply for their authorisation alongside that of your firm? Your chosen legal entity, alongside your management personnel, their qualifications and experience, will affect what forms and information the SRA will expect to see as part of the application. We can advise you on how your chosen management structure will affect the application process, and whether or not there may be an alternative route to authorisation for you to take.
… The services you will provide?
Deciding your firm’s services is the easy part, but considering the risks involved and explaining how you will mitigate them, is another story. The SRA application process requires additional forms to be completed for certain types of services, which are designed to ensure the firm will be under the SRA’s radar going forward. This is mainly for higher risk services, such as those regulated under the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations 2017, or those wherein a place on the FCA exemptions register is required. It is also worth considering the implications your intended services will have on your Professional Indemnity Insurance premium.
… Investment and cashflow?
No one expects a new business venture to be cheap, but have you considered all potential expenses? Will your initial investment be enough? We will draft you a two-year cashflow forecast which will allow you to see the numbers in plain sight. Further, the SRA process itself includes application fees, and further fees post-authorisation which depend on the time of year your firm is authorised. Even before you begin on your application, you will need to obtain a PI insurance quote. We work with ethical brokers who can guide you through the relevant forms and achieve the most competitive premiums for your first year of practice.
How can we help?
The questions above form just a small part of the overall work involved in a new firm application to the SRA. Here at DG Legal, we will guide you through the entire process, and ensure every aspect has been covered.
We have a dedicated team who will be on hand throughout the application. From drafting the initial documents and forms, to liaising with PI Insurance Brokers and the SRA on your behalf, no stone will remain unturned. We are here to ensure that your new firm is equipped with the resources needed to hit the ground running.
Our New Firm Application services include:
- Advising on, preparing and submitting SRA forms
- Drafting and preparing Business Plans and other necessary compliance documentation
- Advice and training on the COLP and COFA roles
- Providing recommendations for third parties, such as website designers
- Drafting SRA compliant plans, policies and procedures
- Advice and training on the SRA Standards and Regulations
DG Legal have supported us through our successful applications for SRA approval and for a legal aid contract. They have always been professional and helpful. Happy to recommend them to others!
Partner, Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne LLP
Our service packages are tailored to your individual needs and include a range of support levels.
New Firm Application Service
This service covers everything necessary for your firm to achieve authorisation from the SRA. Timescales for authorisation vary depending on certain factors, but our fees are fixed, so we shall be with you for the duration of the process.
Getting Started Service
Once your firm is authorised, there is still plenty to think about. Our Getting Started Service aims to reduce that headache by providing you with a suite of templates to help you get the ball rolling. These templates include client care letters, terms of business, file review checklists, and personnel documents such as job descriptions and training plans. Additionally, we will assist the firm in preparing a suite of compliance documentation, including a Quality Manual, Data Security Manual and Business Continuity Plan (amongst others), to ensure your firm’s journey begins with full SRA compliance. Please get in touch if you would like further details on what this service includes, and the costs involved.
Our relationship doesn’t need to end upon your firm’s authorisation. If you would like a knowledgeable and dedicated compliance team on hand 5 days a week, then it is worth considering our popular Retainer Service. Please click here to find out more.
An absolutely fantastic team!! They provided me with an outstanding service with a time limited application for authorisation.
Director, ADJ Law
You may also be interested in....
Licensed Body (ABS) Authorisation
We have experience of working with firms with offices across Europe and the Middle East, and those with multiple layers of corporate ownership.
SRA Transparency Rules
We can assist your firm in ensuring compliance with the SRA Transparency Rules. Our Guide to the SRA Transparency Rules is free to download.
COLP & COFA
We can help you to identify where your COLP & COFA processes and systems need to be improved for effective compliance.
We advise on all aspects of practice management, regulatory compliance and regularly advise and represent firms before tribunals & adjudicators.