A total of 454 firms have started the application process for an alternative business structure (ABS) status in the past 12 months, according to data from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Since 3 January 2012, when the SRA started accepting applications, 74 firms have been granted ABS licences, Legal Futures reveals, noting that as of 14 January 2013 only 64 licences have been published on the SRA's public register. In total, 117 organisations have completed the submission of all required documents and another 19 are close to completion.
There has been a run of ABS approvals, with 40 licences granted in the past month or so. The authority said it was satisfied with the number and scope of ABSs that have entered the legal services market in the past year. The SRA said the speed of approvals reflected the improvements it was making in the process as well as applicants' quick responses to its requests for information.
Still, SRA executive director Samantha Barrass advised potential applicants to examine carefully the guidance related to the application process, which could be found on the SRA's website, and answer quickly any follow-up queries for optimal timing of the approval process.
London-based startup, Blue Trinity, which aims to provide legal and non-legal advice to small and medium-sized firms, is among the latest to be reach approved ABS status from the SRA.