Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to some of the most comomnly asked questions below.
Are you a law firm?
What is the difference between a law firm and The Legal Collective?
Law firms typically comprise lawyers that are authorised and regulated by a local supervisory body (e.g. in Singapore, the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA)). It’s important to note that our consultants are not acting as solicitors or advocates when providing services through The Legal Collective, nor are we regulated or authorised by the LSRA.
In Singapore, the right to “practise Singapore law” and appear in matters before the Singapore courts is reserved exclusively for authorised solicitors and advocates (and in some cases other, authorised regulated persons like foreign registered lawyers). Similarly, in the UK (where most of our consultants trained and previously worked as solicitors), there are six legal activities which are “reserved” to solicitors. These are:
- the exercise of a right of audience (e.g. the right to appear before and address a court);
- the conduct of litigation;
- reserved instrument activities (e.g. conveyancing);
- probate activities;
- notarial activities; and
- the administration of oaths.
By contrast, the in-house legal profession in Singapore is not regulated. As a consultancy, we provide services and support akin to those provided by other in-house professionals in Singapore who are not registered with the LSRA, and who are not covered by the Legal Profession Act (Cap. 161).
Do you provide legal advice?
Who joins The Legal Collective?
We hire consultants from a variety of backgrounds, all of whom have trained or worked at leading law firms or as part of major in-house legal teams. Our aim is to create a compelling alternative to the traditional law firm model, with innovation and entrepreneurship at the core of our business.
We look to attract and retain the brightest legal talent, hiring legal professionals across a wide range of disciplines, who want to work in a different way. Our people are integral to our identity, contributing to a culture of integrity, professionalism and excellence. It is their empathy and passion for their work that has helped us become a trusted partner for some of Singapore most successful small and medium sized enterprises.
What are the benefits to my organisation?
Are there any downsides?
From a client’s perspective, using an unregulated consultancy as opposed to a firm of solicitors is not all upside. While our view is that the improved user experience and cost benefits to the client outweighs the downsides of using a legal consultancy, we want our clients to be fully informed of the position to make up their own minds. Here are the key distinctions:
- Solicitors are subject to rules issued by the Law Society and LSRA relating to the conduct of their business (and imposing ethical standards and a duty to act in the client’s best interests). We are not subject to those rules. In our view, this makes very little difference to the client, as it is clearly in our best interests to act honestly whether or not we are subject to written rules requiring us to do so. Also, as we require each of our consultants to maintain valid practicing certificates, they remain subject to the professional standards required of them by the relevant licensing bodies.
- Solicitors’ advice can be “privileged”. What this means is that correspondence between a client and solicitor can, if made confidentially and for the purposes of legal advice, be withheld from a court or third party in connection with legal proceedings. Advice from non-regulated advisors is not “privileged”, which means that our advice may be disclosable in evidence in the context of a legal claim. In this sense, our correspondence and advice are treated in the same manner as advice from your accountants, management consultants, HR consultants or anyone else who is not a regulated legal advisor such as a solicitor or advocate. Because we do not advise on contentious matters (and are not in the habit of sending emails advising our clients to do anything illegal) this risk generally presents our clients with few concerns. However, we have occasionally had client instructions where we felt that the protection of privilege was essential, and in those circumstances, we have recommended our client to traditional law firms in order to ensure that protection remains in place.
- If you’re unhappy with the service received from a solicitor, you can raise a complaint with the LSRA. If you’re unhappy with our service, then you cannot complain to the LSRA but will have to raise your complaint with us directly. It’s not happened yet, though.