Challenges of the Legal Services Act

The imminent introduction of the Legal Services Act presents new challenges for high street firms as it enables companies other than solicitors to provide legal services under what is known as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS). This means that individuals can visit an ABS for various legal services, such as, wills, probate and conveyancing. Already companies such as Co-op, the AA and Saga have become ABSs in direct competition with the traditional high street solicitors practice.

The problem facing a majority of solicitor’s practices is that large companies will clearly have a commercial advantage over the high street legal practice that used to dot every high street. Going forward a well known ‘brand’ will get custom regardless of the quality of their legal service merely due to their reputation in other areas. They also benefit from economies of scale, so can undercut the prices of smaller high street solicitors and advertise aggressively, knowing that their smaller rivals cannot compete. In addition, they have the benefit of convenience; why visit a solicitor when you can get a will written while doing the weekly shop? A survey by Yougov has shown that 60% of those surveyed would buy legal services from a known retail brand rather than a local solicitor. This makes the future look very gloomy for the average high street solicitors practice. You only have to glance down a high street to see the lack of independent retailers due to being priced out by large corporate brands. By visiting the same brand for legal services, the legal profession will go the same way.

More worryingly, critics argue that it will damage the independence of the profession. Solicitors often work in small partnerships, independent from the clients they serve, striving to provide good quality legal services building client confidence, loyalty and client recommendations. However, bring in a major retailer with interests in several sectors and the outlook changes dramatically. Solicitors are responsible for their own reputation which is earned through the service they provide, making them personally liable for the work they undertake. Larger retailers simply do not have the same degree of liability; if a mistake is made it does not affect the company on a national scale. With large companies there is also the possibility that they will only be interested in the relatively simple tasks in order to make a quick buck, leaving the riskier and more expensive work for their high street competitors.

If an ABS can offer routine legal services without what may appear to be a hefty price tag, why choose a high street firm? Firstly, there is the personal service and client relationship; a solicitor can build up a strong relationship with a client over several years, thus better understanding the needs of each situation. In law, due to the vast diversity of situations, there simply cannot be an effective one size fits all model (the likely approach of the likes of the AA, Co-op etc). Instead of a mass-produced product, a high street solicitor can offer you an approach tailored to meet your needs. Most solicitors firms operate in a team of highly qualified specialists to provide a quality service rather than one solicitor heading a large group of paralegals or unqualified legal assistants. Put simply, high street firms offer quality over quantity. To ensure their future high street law firms have to maintain their professional standards.

It is true that high street firms need to adapt to have a chance of competing with big business. However, the days of the sole practitioner will soon be gone. For the smaller firms to survive they may no alternative but to merge with other professional services, such as, accountants and IFA’s to provide all business and personal services under one roof. No matter what steps they take, high street solicitors need to show that they are just as accessible and approachable as the big brands. Ultimately, receiving legal advice is a service: you pay for the quality you receive. Buying a house or deciding who inherits your worldly possessions is an important decision. Why cut corners to save a few pounds when a quality personal service is around the corner waiting to help?

What is a Legal Translation?

Legal translation is a complex matter and should never be undertaken by someone who is not competent to translate legal documents accurately to the target language. The legal translator should be a native speaker of the target language and have a fundamental understanding of the source language. It is also important when considering an assignment of this nature that the translator has an understanding of the cultural aspects of the target language for translation. The cultural characteristics of the target country will play a key role in the way that the document is understood, to that the translator should be able to convey the meaning having adapted the original document accurately. Any mis-translation can have devastating consequences which may even result in legal proceedings against the company. It should further be understood that mistranslation can also offend; also the translator should be alert to any words that are similar such as personal/personnel, as a misspelling can completely change the meaning of the text.

Terminology plays a key role and the legal translator should have a full understanding in this area and be able to adapt the text from the source language to the target language without losing anything in translation. This requires expertise and experience. Legal matters are constantly changing throughout the world and the legal translator must be up to date with those changes.

Legal translation as commented upon, needs competence and with that comes the ability to scrutinise and re read ensuring throughout the process of legal translation that there are no hidden mistakes.

The area of legal translation is a mine field and cannot be taken on lightly; contract law; international law; corporate law; family, tax and immigration law; wills and affidavits, to name but a few and all subject to different regulations which in legal translation poses a huge headache, but, attention to detail is essential if it is to convey accurately what is required.

Finally, the legal translator must be able to guarantee complete privacy of the legal documents to be translated and must have a full understanding of the task required. This does not just mean the actual process of translation but the meaning of the text so that it will be clearly translated to the target language with full knowledge of the source text.

Different Types of Legal Transcription Services

In recent years, the demand for talented and professional individuals to take on the task of writing accurate and grammatically correct legal records has been on the rise. These individuals, known as legal transcriptionists, are being looked to in order to take some of the workload from lawyers and paralegals who have a need for accurate records but do not have the time to construct them. Many reputable companies and individuals are now providing their services to law firms, banks, insurance companies, and government organizations in order to quickly supply legal records that are easier to understand. Not only are these services easing the workload of busy professionals, they are also improving the quality of legal records to make for more accurate and organized legal systems.

Legal transcriptionists use the latest technology to take dictations from legal professionals and transcribe them into official documents. These professionals generally work as secretaries in offices, allowing them full access to files and information. This profession is rising in importance as the need for accurate documentation increases. Their services help to create and maintain organized and detailed legal records that will help their superiors win more cases or conduct better business. The records created by them also allow for a more efficiently run company because the workers spend less time concentrating on organization and more time on productive work.

Today there are several reputable companies that provide top-notch transcription services to those in need. TranscriptionStar is one of the most well-known transcription service providers that supply services to numerous corporations and small businesses in the U.S. and Europe. They work under the head of iSource, which uses the latest technology to provide high-quality, cost effective transcription services to their vast client base. TranscriptionStar provides several areas of transcription services other than legal that include medical, business, research, educational, and media. TranscriptionStar is HIPAA compliant and provides strict security in accordance with PHI Privacy and Security.

For larger jobs, RapidText is a good service that provides legal transcription to various businesses but prefers to work on larger projects and establish long-term relationships. The company employs around 250 transcriptionists who are well-trained and knowledgeable in several different fields, helping to provide the best and most complete documents possible.

For smaller or average sized jobs, TranscriptionStudio is a good place to look. TranscriptionStudio offers experienced professionals who have knowledge in a variety of legal areas. The versatility that this service provides allows the employees to supply transcription services to a variety of legal sectors. The company specializes in insurance, government, law, and media related fields and offers a one hundred percent satisfaction guarantee.

UKtyping is another company that offers it to various groups. The company specializes in strictly legal services and has the advantage of vast knowledge in everything legal related. UKtyping provides great resources and tools to aid in dictation and record creation. The company works mainly with lawyers, doctors, accountants, authors, and property professionals but claims to be able to adapt to most other fields.

NCH is a site that supplies a list of businesses that are currently looking for transcriptionists. The site posts jobs from companies located all over the world, including the U.S., Canada, Asia, and Europe.

The services provided by legal transcriptionists are becoming invaluable resources to various companies throughout the U.S. These legal secretaries are single-handedly improving the way organizations run their businesses. The outpour of positions that are now available give the added perk of versatility in the workplace, allowing transcriptionists to find jobs in various sectors other than the legal world. Although these professionals do not always receive the recognition they deserve, there are steps being taken to create organizations that will promote better treatment and provide more rights. These organizations will also be able to spell out precisely which qualifications should be necessary before embarking on a career in legal transcription. Hopefully these advancements will create better working conditions and help improve America’s legal record system