A few years back, UK law firm Davenport Lyons made a splash by sending out a ton
of "pre-settlement" letters to people accused of file sharing, threatening to sue them if they didn't pay a few hundred pounds. The law firm used a default judgment
(i.e., a case where the defendant didn't show up) to claim that it had the law on its side and would sue and win. Of course, an investigation into the thousands of letters being sent found that plenty of innocent bystanders
were being sent those letters as well -- which certainly raised all sorts of questions about the legitimacy of the effort. The negative publicity resulted in some high profile Davenport Lyons customers backing out
of their relationship, and eventually a new entity called ACS:Law to pop up
to continue the effort -- though, an investigation found that the documents used by ACS:law were created by Davenport Lyons.
Despite many calls for sanctions against the lawyers for taking part in an effort that has remarkable similarities to a traditional shakedown scheme, there had been little response from regulators. However Marcus alerts us to the news that two Davenport Lyons lawyers have now been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal
by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. I'm not quite sure how this process works in the UK, but it seems like it's about time that someone was checking in on these activities.