President Andrew Caplen’s piece for the August 2014 edition of the Singapore Law Society’s Law Gazette, titled ‘Non-lawyer ownership: The view from England and Wales’, provides insight into the English and Welsh experience thus far on the licensing of Alternative Business Structures (ABS).

Referring to the trends witnessed so far he argues that ABS “provide a favourable context for the legal services sector to continue growing as a high-value segment of the economy…the continued innovation of legal practice and regulation allows law firms in England and Wales a competitive advantage over jurisdictions with more conservative approaches, giving firms access to outside capital and business expertise in the partnership. Likewise, as Singapore’s economy grows, it is natural that it too will continue to develop a legal sector that is well-placed to meet domestic needs that are increasingly varied and complex.”

ABS are regulated organisations providing legal services which have some form of non-lawyer involvement. The first ABS were licensed in 2012 and since then the Law Society’s regulatory arm, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), has issued over 266 licences.

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