News In Focus
Society's booklet sets out the standards
The Law Society of Scotland has produced a comprehensive, easy-to-understand booklet of standards for solicitors.
The booklet – which is also online – is aimed at solicitors and their clients and outlines both standards of conduct and service.
The Society has recently introduced new practice rules on standards which supersede the former Code of Conduct applying to non-criminal business, and also a statement of service standards that clients can expect from their solicitors. These evolved from an exercise carried out over an 18 month period involving both solicitors and potential users of legal services.
Richard Henderson, President of the Society, said: “The standards that solicitors work to mark them out as professionals and it is a profession in which the public has great confidence.
“This is a great opportunity for firms and solicitors to remind clients what they do and what the badge of solicitor means – a professional who is trustworthy, has integrity, won’t act in a conflict of interest situation, and is regulated with the consumer protections which that entails, such as the Guarantee Fund and indemnity insurance.
“The standards are set out so that solicitors know where they stand and equally importantly, their clients know what they can expect from their solicitor. Managing expectations is a key part of building strong, long-lasting relationships with clients and makes good business sense.”
Mr Henderson added: “What has been produced is a restatement of the core values and principles under which solicitors operate, and in publishing these standards in this way, careful consideration has been given to expressing them in a way which is easily understood.
“The reality is that for most solicitors, the introduction of standards underpins the level of service that they already provide as firms are already complying with, and often exceeding, the standards expected of them. This is particularly so with the standards of service as what is set out is simply good practice.”
The Code of Conduct for Criminal Practitioners remains separate as an additional code for solicitors specialising in that area of the law.
The Standards for Scottish Solicitors can be found online at www.lawscot.org.uk/members_information/standards/ .