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FAQs

  1. GENERAL FAQS 

What benefit do I get for joining the network? 

Primarily, you will gain access to a powerful referral network of advisers around the world in firms similar to yours. That means quality inbound referrals from clients you want to work with and quality outbound referrals to advisers you trust. You will also have use of the Adviserly Platform, allowing you to communicate with clients and other advisers, quote for work, share documents, and invoice clients. We will prepare short blog articles for your advisers, to drive traffic to your profile page.

We are working on the following additional features in the future:

  • Events to share best practice across the network and lead discussions on the latest technology, so that you can stay ahead of the competition.
  • The opportunity to provide fixed fee offers to clients, such as template documents and other disaggregated services.
  • Additional pay-as-you-go services for our members such as professional services marketing.
  • Coordinating pitches across the network in response to requests for proposals from larger clients.
  • Discounts through corporate partners on legal tech, insurance, translation, marketing and other services.
  • Insight into different legal and accounting technology, allowing your firm to make the most of the tech available, based on recommendations from firms like yours.
What sort of firms are you looking to join the network?

We are looking for tech-savvy dynamic and responsive firms, including sole practitioners, with a track record of providing high quality services. You do not need an existing international client base but you do need to be fluent in English. Our application form sets out the information we are looking for.

Do I register as a firm or as an individual adviser?

Firms apply to join our network. Once that application is approved, your proposed advisers will be sent a form to provide information which allows us to create their profile. Each adviser then has a public-facing profile on the Adviserly Platform, which does not refer to the firm.

Will you publicise that my firm is on the network?

The only name to appear on our website is the first name of each adviser. Your firm’s brand is your brand and does not appear on our site. Once a potential client has submitted a work request to you, advisers will need to tell the client what firm they work for.

 

How will you ensure quality on the network?

We choose our advisers with great care, requiring firms to complete an application form, provide client testimonial and be interviewed. Clients and other advisers will be able to provide feedback to us about advisers on the network. This will allow us to take remedial steps including, ultimately, removing advisers from the network. In that sense, it is easier for us to maintain the quality of our network than it is for most large law and accounting firms.

We’ll be backing our advisers with our brand, so quality is critical for our success.

Will I be competing against other providers?

While there is likely to be some overlap with services provided by other advisers, Adviserly’s mission is to ensure a healthy community where members’ practices complement rather than compete with each other. There is no bidding for work against other advisers.

Do you fix the price that I can charge my clients?

No. We know how difficult it can be to price accurately. So long as advisers explain their quote to clients, we cannot ask for more than that.

Do I have to use the Adviserly Platform?

No. You will be able to raise invoices on your own system as usual and communicate by email once you have been instructed by a client. We want to make the Adviserly Platform so good that you and clients want to use it – but if we fail to do so that’s our problem not yours.

How will you stop time-wasting referrals coming through to me?

All work submitted through the website will be filtered by us. If their scope of work is unclear, we will ask for clarification to make sure they find the right adviser.

I have a good referral network already: can I refer work to them even if they are not on the network?

Yes. Advisers are free to refer work to advisers outside the network. It is our job to make sure we have the best possible advisers on our network, so if you’re not happy with the firm or adviser we have available, we’d love to know why, and we’d also love an introduction to the firm you choose instead.

If I sign up, will I be charged for referrals to my existing network?

No, you can continue using your existing network as usual. You will never be charged a commission on any work to any firm you introduce to the network.

Is there any benefit or incentive to referring firms to you?

We want to encourage members to refer firms to us because we value recommendations from existing advisers very highly. For each firm you refer to us who successfully becomes part of our network, we will apply time-limited discounts to both firms’ subscription or commission payments.

How easy is it to leave the network?

You can leave on one month’s written notice.

  1. LEGAL RELATIONSHIP 

What is the contract structure between Adviserly, the client and the firm?

Adviserly does not want to get in the way of your relationship with the client, contractually or in practice. We know how important this relationship is from a client care point of view as well as a liability and regulatory point of view. There are several crucial documents:

  • Firm’s Standard Ts and Cs you contract with the client using your normal Ts & Cs.
  • Adviserly Ts and Cs – these set out the main terms between Adviserly and each firm. The standard Ts and Cs are the same for each firm, and incorporate the Privacy Policy. Details and any bespoke arrangements are set out in the firm’s Application Form and 1 page Key Terms document agreed between Adviserly and each firm.
  • Platform Terms of Use this sets out the terms of using the Adviserly Platform for all users, including advisers and clients.
  • SaaS Agreement – a confidential agreement between Adviserly and our suppliers Legal Connection, who operate the ‘back end’ of the Adviserly Platform.
  • Privacy Policy – setting out our policy on the personal data we hold and why.
  • Cookie Policy – setting out our policy on cookies on our site.

 

How do I actually contract with the client?

You can enter into your engagement letter as normal if you would like to continue to do this.

In due course our Platform will have a scoping tool which will produce a detailed scope which can be appended to the terms and conditions or engagement letter. 

We are working on a bank of optional additional clauses setting out firms’ relationship with Adviserly and what data you share with us. If you would like to do so, these can be included in your engagement letter or Ts & Cs.

If contracting via the Platform, any scoping information and additional clauses can be appended with a click of a button, otherwise you can insert these manually if you would like to do so.

What is the Platform?

The Adviserly Platform uses a UK SAAS product called Legal Connection. This allows advisers to provide quotes, submit invoices, request deposits, receive payment and record time. We believe this offers advisers and clients a great user experience that can really add value. To make the most of this, we would like payments to be made through the site, making the process simple and consistent for clients.

We want to create a Platform that allows advisers from different firms to advise the same client, so for a really smooth experience we want to minimise the number of invoices the client receives.

Who is Legal Connection and what is their role?

Legal Connection is the trading name of Connecting the World Limited, a company registered in England and Wales. They are our trusted development partners and have two roles. They have developed the front end of the Adviserly Platform. They also operate the Legal Connection platform, which powers the back end of the Adviserly Platform.

Firms can also choose to adopt the separate Legal Connection platform as their internal case management tool, but this would be separate from your relationship with Adviserly.

Do I have to use the Platform when communicating with a client?

No. Firms can refer clients to each other completely off Platform.

For clients who submit their initial work request through the Platform, firms can take the conversation off Platform as soon as they are introduced.

Of course, we would rather you communicated through the Platform, but it’s our job to make the Platform so convenient and reliable that you want to do use it. Bear in mind that if you refer clients and take instructions off Platform, then you still have billing reporting requirements to us.

We know that many of you already use your own client and document management systems to record time and submit invoices and you will continue to be able to do so.

By using Adviserly do firms risk breaching client confidentiality?

When referring work to another member directly through the Platform, or if you ask us for help in finding a referral partner, you should only provide enough information so as to comply with your confidentiality obligations (for example, not revealing the client’s identity until you have decided to instruct another firm). This is no different from any other referral you make.

When a client submits work through the Platform to an adviser, they are aware and consent to us having access to certain information, set out in the Platform Terms of Use and Privacy Policy both of which must be agreed to before work is submitted.

If you feel uncomfortable using the Platform, you do not have to do so, and can take conversations with clients off-Platform as soon as the initial work request is received. You will however still have to report to us fees billed to the client.

If I refer work off-Platform, does my client have to know I am using Adviserly?

If a firm wishes to contract directly with another adviser on the network off-Platform, we recommend that the firm informs the client that it is doing so through Adviserly, using the following wording:

“We have referred this work to an adviser through Adviserly, an international community of firms like ours. Member firms are required to provide Adviserly with certain data, including how much they bill clients. For full details please see Adviserly’s Privacy Policy.”

If for any reason clients are not happy with this approach, then please do not use Adviserly or any firm on our network for this particular referral.

Does communicating on the Platform mean that advice is no longer subject to privilege?

We are not involved in and nor do we see communications between advisers and their clients.

To the extent lawyers communicate with their clients using the Platform, we think this is analogous to using emails which do not in any way affect privilege. Ultimately, it is for each firm to ensure they are comfortable with this approach. If you have any concerns, please let us know.

How does membership of Adviserly allow us to comply with data protection obligations?

You likely already use a cloud based or SaaS solution such as Clio for the management of your practice. Like those providers, we take data protection very seriously. As a London based business, we are subject to UK GDPR, a regulatory regime which was officially recognised by the EU in 2021. The UK Government said:

“Formal adoption of the decisions under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Law Enforcement Directive (LED) allows personal data to flow freely from the EU and wider European Economic Area (EEA) to the UK. The decisions mean that UK businesses and organisations can continue to receive personal data from the EU and EEA without having to put additional arrangements in place with European counterparts.” 

Please see our Privacy Policy here.

Please see the privacy policy of Legal Connection here.

Are your Network Fees commission” and “referral fees” and how do you enable us to comply with our regulatory obligations?

Whether our Network Fee is thought to be a commission’, ‘referral fee’ or ‘fee sharing arrangement’ will depend on the jurisdiction. We think it is a fee for services, but know that regulators may take a different view, and we would always err on the side of caution. Our brand depends on the trust of our members, clients and regulators, so we want to be beyond reproach.

When a client submits work through our Platform, they must consent to any Network Fees. It is up to each firm to decide whether this is sufficient for their regulatory obligations, or whether they wish to include similar wording in their own standard terms and conditions.

If you have any doubt whether your firm can sign up on this basis, you should sign up on a subscription basis instead (note that subscriptions are only chargeable after you have signed your first engagement letter with a client).

What happens if a client complains or refunds are necessary?

Any complaints in relation to service provided, or refunds agreed between firms and their clients, are a matter for them.

We expect you to have a complaints policy in place in accordance with regulation in your jurisdiction, and deal proactively with client complaints.

To the extent a client or firm complains about the service Adviserly has provided, or about our Platform, we will proactively seek to resolve such complaints. We do not want any mistakes that we make to adversely impact on your relationship with the client.

What is to stop other firms poaching our clients?

Our Ts and Cs includes wording to prevent firms from providing services to clients in direct competition with those firms who have referred the client to them. Firms are expressly allowed to enforce this provision as against other member firms. The provision survives termination of the Ts and Cs.

My regulations don’t allow me to promote myself – will Adviserly put me in breach?

If you have any concerns, please let us know and we can approach your regulator together for clarification.

If I sign up, will I be charged for referrals to my existing network?

No, you can continue using your existing network as usual. You will never be charged a commission on any work to any firm you introduce to the network.

How easy is it to leave the network?

You can leave on one month’s written notice.

  1. ADVISERLY FEES

What fees do I pay?

The preliminary network is free. This is a temporary network while we get the formal network set up.

Members of the formal network have the option of paying either:

 

  • A Subscription Fee. This is a monthly fee of £100 (or £90 for members who join from the preliminary network) per adviser. This monthly fee only starts being payable after you have contracted with your first Network Client. To ensure that these fees represent value for members in all jurisdictions, we may apply discounts in jurisdictions where referrals are less likely in the early days of the network.
  • A Network Fee, which is a percentage of fees paid by clients referred to you by us or members of the network (Network Client) in the first year of the relationship with the client. This is 15% for new members, and 10% for members who join from the preliminary network.
How does Network Fee model work? When are payments made?

If you bill the client through the Platform, the Network Fee will be deducted when the client pays your invoice.

If you bill the client off-Platform you must report the fees billed to us quarterly, and we will then invoice you for the commission of the fees billed.

What fees will our clients pay?

No fees will be charged to clients for use of the platform.

  1. PAYMENTS AND TRANSACTION FEES 

How do I get paid by my client?

We want a payments and transaction structure that works for clients, advisers and Adviserly. We think that advisers should have choice in which payment method they use. We want to work with you and make your life easier, not to impose our thinking and create duplication.

You will therefore have the following options when billing clients:

shieldpay allowing payments by clients on the Platform, as well as the holding of deposits in respect of anticipated fees, with our Network Fee % (if applicable) deducted on payment of fees.

Your existing arrangements. Use your existing invoicing arrangements and bill the client directly. There is more paperwork involved here but there no fees other than usual bank fees and conversion costs.

Stripe - allowing payments by clients on the Platform, with our Network Fee % (if applicable) deducted on payment of fees.

Does Adviserly operate a client account?

Adviserly does not operate a client account. That will remain the responsibility of each adviser firm, in accordance with local regulation. For example, if you hold transaction completion monies for your client, you will need to arrange for the client to pay those monies directly to your account, as usual.

Does Adviserly hold client deposits on our behalf?

No. We do not hold any money on your behalf.

To the extent that deposits in relation to fees are held by the Platform, these will be held securely by shieldpay on behalf of the client. Our view is that these funds are subject to UK financial regulations but not national professional regulators, as these funds are not held by the adviser. Please alert us if this may cause any concerns with your regulator.

Clients will not be able to pay funds as a deposit unless they agree that the trigger for payment of the deposit to the firm is the submission of an invoice.

How do you deal with sales taxes?

Adviserly’s invoices will always be addressed to firms, not to your clients. They will be subject to 20% UK VAT when the advisers are based in the UK. On our invoices addressed to EU members, we will state on the invoices that they are subject to the reverse charge, and it is for the advisers to account for this in the usual way with their local VAT authority. This will not result in any increase in VAT payments you make to your VAT authority.

We are looking at the tax implications of providing services to law and accounting firms in different jurisdictions. If you are able to assist with this ongoing project, we would love to hear from you.

Advisers will have to determine their own VAT position in relation to their clients (which may be B2B or B2C).