Law Society speaks out

Is it too much to expect that, before The Lawyer speculates on what the Law Society might say in response to a story (2 June), it first contacts the society to find out what it would actually say?

In our response to the Fabian Society pamphlet on the regulation of lawyers, we do not – as you imagine – defend self-regulation on the grounds that it gives us added influence with the Government.

We defend self-regulation on the grounds that it works better than other, alternative regulatory arrangements. Clients have generous and comprehensive consumer protection, while the burden and cost of regulation to the profession is kept to a minimum. Self-regulation is founded on the truth that high standards of client protection are good for business. The profession does not need a government-appointed quango to remind it of this fact.

The example that the Fabian Society gives as a model for the future regulation of solicitors is the General Medical Council. Yet, the GMC does not command the unconditional respect and confidence of the public or the profession it partly regulates, as the case of the Bristol heart surgeons this week demonstrates.

In future, I suggest that The Lawyer should not accept other people's assertions that the solicitors' profession cannot be trusted to protect its clients' interests without, at the very least, talking first to the professional body.

David McNeill, Law Society

Editor's note: We did not speak to the Law Society as the report was embargoed.