65 firms seek SRA approval for ABS conversion

The SRA has received 65 applications from firms looking to convert to alternative business structures (ABS) in its first two weeks of taking submissions.

A spokesperson for the SRA confirmed the figure, adding that the number referred to those firms that have made ‘stage one’ applications. He said “most” of the 65 had begun stage two of the process, which involves completing a lengthy questionnaire.

The SRA has committed on its website to making a decision within six months of receipt of completed applications, although it can extend that to nine months by informing applicants in writing.

The body was approved as an ABS regulator in December (1 December 2011) and began accepting applications on 3 January.

Organisations considering becoming ABSs include the Co-operative Legal Services (12 January 2012), insurance company Admiral (13 December 2011) and Irwin Mitchell, which this week appointed its first non-lawyer chair ahead of conversion (16 January 2012).