It was interesting to spot this piece in The Lawyer today. Of course the phenomenon of struck-off solicitors setting up as "legal advisors" is not a new development; it is perhaps only a little surprising that Mr Iyer should be so unabashed in his outlook. He may be comforted by the strong indication the SRA has given recently that the structure of the market is moving his way.
Just a week ago, I had the pleasure of hearing the SRA's Director of Policy, Crispin Passmore make an announcement that struck me and other practitioners in legal regulation, such as @iaingmiller, as game-changing. To recap, the SRA intends to separate the brand of solicitor from entity regulation entirely, so that solicitors may provide non-reserved legal activities through unregulated entities. Entities which do not provide reserved legal activities can seek to be regulated by the SRA on a voluntary basis - presumably because they might think that association with the SRA is a good thing - but are not obliged to be regulated by anyone.
The intention of the SRA is to seek to regulate only the title of solicitor and the reserved legal activities it is responsible for, marking a profound shift away from the era of "entity regulation".
Of course, these proposed changes reflect the reality of the current market, but Mr Iyer, it would seem, does not appear to worry that his lack of regulation (rather than his personal notoriety) will put anyone off. Further any company seeking to be regulated voluntarily will have to pass that cost on to their clientele, putting themselves potentially at a disadvantage to the likes of IY Legal.
In my opinion, this forces contemplation of a number of existential questions about the business of law. What exactly are the brands of solicitor or "SRA-Regulated" worth? Does my legal business need to be regulated at all? Is my business model infringing the law as it stands and what should I do about it?
The frontier of law has moved west again; good maps and expert guides will still be needed.
Former Ince & Co partner Nathan ‘Andy’ Iyer, who was jailed for forgery and false accounting and struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) in 2012, has launched City legal services firm IY Legal.IY Legal will provide non-regulated legal advice to energy and arbitration clients, Iyer told The Lawyer. The firm was set up in June, less than one month after Iyer was released from prison after a two-and-a-half-year sentence.Iyer said he took independent and expert legal advice on the new venture and is “not trying to do anything I shouldn’t be doing”.“I followed counsel’s advice entirely,” he said. “Everything I’m setting out to do has been thoroughly checked over by my legal counsel. I really hesitated about doing this, but I wouldn’t be going ahead if I wasn’t sure that I could.”