Legal Profession Under Siege

| General

 

In recent times the legal profession has been under siege by ongoing criticism from various quarters. The profession has recently pledged to put its house in order by addressing some of the concerns raised by elaborating further upon the duties of professionals working within the legal industries from an ethical perspective. 

How Is The Legal Profession Dealing With This Issue?

The new reforms aim to set out the accountabilities,responsibilities, and obligations of lawyers. The profession has established a group known as the Gatekeepers Project which has the ambition of communicating with those who are critical of the way the profession is being operated and on important issues such as money laundering, confidentiality, and disclosure. The Gatekeepers Project will launch a worldwide consultation process whereby it will liaise and hear the views of a broad range of interested parties such as:

  • Individual legal professionals working within the industry
  • associations representing legal professionals at the Bar
  • firms that specialize in the provision of legal services and
  • a range of Law Societies. 

After the Gatekeepers Project consultation process, the plan in the short and medium-term is for the group to compile a manual guiding legal professionals through some of the contemporary issues facing the commercial world. It also has the ambition to update the Principles of Conduct which are a foundation for good legal practice.

What Approach Is the Gatekeeper Project Taking In The Consultation Process? 

This is an important project and it would be all too easy for those running the Consultation process to receive a less than positive response from those legal professionals working within the industry who did their heels in and refuse to move from their position. However, in stark contrast to the above approach the Gatekeeper’s Project’s strategy will attempt to work in a spirit of close collaboration with all of those parties who contribute to their consultation process and those who will eventually be affected by the changes to the ethical standards. Sara Carnegie from the Gatekeeper’s Project commented that the Project aims to work with those affected to communicate effectively with a problem-solving approach to find a balanced negotiated and settled view. The emphasis of the Project is seemingly upon realizing in an informed way that the future direction of ethics for the entire profession is at risk.

How Should Legal Professionals Be Responding?

In response to this development at the heart of the legal profession, legal professionals working in the sector would be best advised to follow the guidance of Stephanie Boyce, speaking in her capacity in her esteemed position as President of the Law Society advised legal professionals to always have at the forefront of their minds the Code of Conduct for Solicitors by ensuring they are acting to strike the correct balance between the following issues which can be perceived as being incompatible with each other such as:

  • ensuring justice is being administered appropriately
  • acting in the public interest
  • the duty to act in the best interests of clients and
  • operate according to the rule of law.

If legal professionals can operate in this manner then Mrs. Boyce made clear that the Law Society will support them and the wider legal profession it will have a much better chance to contend with the contemporary problems faced by the modern legal professional environment.

To meet these standards they should operate at the highest level of professionalism, follow the above strategy recommended by the President of the Law Society, within the parameters of the Code of Conduct for Solicitors, and keep looking out for future developments.

ASSESSING FIRMS

#BhattMurphy #BindmansLLP #DeightonPierceGlynn #LeighDay #BirnbergPeirce&Partners #Hickman&Rose #HodgeJones&Allen #HowardKennedyLLP #IrwinMitchell #SimonsMuirheadBurton #TuckersSolicitors #DuncanLewisSolicitors #Hausfield&CoLLP #ITNSolicitors 

THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES 

[SOURCE 1] Cross, Michael – ‘Ethical gatekeepers’ ripose to critics of lawyers – Law Society Gazette - 6 June 2022 - ‘Ethical gatekeepers’ riposte to critics of lawyers | News | Law Gazette

[SOURCE 2] The Gatekeepers Project - Gatekeeper Project | GATEKEEPER PROJECT (gatekeeper-project.eu)

[SOURCE 3] Hilborne, Nick – IBA project to probe role of lawyers as “ethical gatekeepers” – Legal Futures - IBA project to probe the role of lawyers as “ethical gatekeepers” - Legal Futures 7 June 2022 -

[SOURCE 4] Rigby, Ben – IBA launches major project examining lawyers’ role as ethical gatekeepers – 7 June 2022 – The Global Legal Post - IBA launches major project examining lawyers' role as ethical gatekeepers - The Global Legal Post

 

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