With many solicitors now taking the freelance route to practice, Travelers Europe have developed an insurance product to mitigate their risk. Here, they outline how it works.

The past few years have transformed the legal profession, changing how and where lawyers work. Still, there is room for further change, particularly when it comes to flexibility. According to the Timewise Flexible Jobs Index 2022, 90% of people want to work flexibly. However, less than one-third of jobs in the legal profession are advertised as flexible (up from 23% in 2021). Just 6% of these jobs are advertised as part-time, even though flexible roles are in high demand.

This desire for greater flexibility may be one factor contributing to the rising numbers of UK solicitors who are looking to work as freelancers. In November 2019, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) changed its regulations to allow solicitors to trade outside of the traditional legal-entity models. The following year, there were approximately 100-200 freelancer solicitors in the UK. Now, there are 500-600. While the numbers are approximate – as freelance solicitors don’t necessarily have to notify the SRA when they stop working as freelancers – there is a clear upward trend in those exploring the path.

What does a freelance solicitor need?

The SRA defines freelance solicitors as self-employed solicitors who meet these criteria. They:

  • practise on their own and don’t employ anyone else in connection with the services they provide;
  • practise in their own name (rather than under a trading name or through a service company); and
  • are engaged directly by clients with fees payable directly to them, without the practice itself being authorised.

This professional path can offer a solicitor added flexibility and autonomy – making it possible to work as a freelance solicitor full time, or even during a fraction of the work week.

However, it also requires solicitors to meet several requirements, including taking out and maintaining ‘adequate and appropriate’ insurance to protect themselves against the professional risks they face. This has proved difficult and solicitors have found few options for this cover.

Broad cover designed for a wide range of practices

To help meet that need, Travelers has developed a new professional indemnity insurance product specifically for freelance solicitors. The cover provides these professionals with an additional option to manage their commercial risk and professional reputations as they develop and grow their businesses.

“Brokers have told us that cover for freelance solicitors is an area of growing interest among their clients,” said James Graham, Director Professional Indemnity for Travelers Europe. “Their input, as well as that of our team, which includes many qualified solicitors with experience from diverse areas of the law, has helped us develop this new resource that freelance solicitors can turn to for business protection.”

Freelance solicitors are responsible for determining what cover is adequate and appropriate for their business. So, much like the range of freelance solicitor practices themselves, this new option for professional indemnity insurance protection is broad and can be customized.

Available limits for the product range from £250,000 to £2 million. The cover can be offered on an aggregate or any-one-claim basis, with defence costs considered as either part of, or in addition to, the limit. The insurance is currently provided only for legal services undertaken within England and Wales by the freelance solicitor. And the policy wording, although more restrictive than the SRA’s minimum terms and conditions, has been based on this wording.

As solicitors look for ways to build their practices around their personal and professional needs, having new options for protection can allow for a range of choices – whether that means practising within traditional legal entities or not.

“Travelers has a long history of insuring solicitors’ professional indemnity risks”, said Graham, “and we want to provide options to help protect not only law firms of all sizes, but also individual solicitors with freelance practices. As the legal sector evolves, we want our insurance solutions to evolve with it.”

Want to learn more?

For additional information about Travelers Freelance Solicitors Professional Indemnity Insurance, visit travelers.co.uk/solicitors or call 0700 22 22 999.

Travelers Insurance Company Limited

Travelers Insurance Company Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered office: One Creechurch Place, London, EC3A 5AF. Registered in England 01034343

 The information provided in this document is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice nor a recommendation to any individual or business of any product or service. Insurance coverage is governed by the actual terms and conditions of insurance as set out in the policy documentation and not by any of the information in this document.