Legal Services Regulatory Authority of Ireland to introduce legal partnerships

The Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) of Ireland plans to introduce legal partnerships in the autumn of 2024, providing a new business structure that will allow barristers, or barristers and solicitors, to form partnerships. This initiative, enabled by the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 and subsequent amendments, aims to modernise the delivery of legal services in Ireland.

Legal partnerships can be either solicitor-barrister or barrister-only and must include at least one practising barrister. This structure is intended to enhance the provision of legal services by allowing more flexible business arrangements among legal practitioners.

To support this new business model, the LSRA is updating the regulatory framework, which includes a suite of new and revised regulations along with a code of practice for practising barristers. The regulations will cover various operational aspects of legal partnerships, such as general obligations, standards, procedures, and client money handling. Additionally, these partnerships will be able to apply for Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) status, previously only available to solicitor partnerships, which provides that partners are not personally liable for certain debts and obligations of the partnership.

The LSRA also plans to issue an updated Code of Practice for Practising Barristers, setting out the standards and requirements for barristers within these new legal partnerships. This code will supersede other professional codes where conflicts arise, ensuring that LSRA’s regulations take precedence.

As the legal landscape evolves with these changes, the LSRA will continue to provide updates and educational resources to legal professionals to facilitate the transition to and understanding of legal partnerships.

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