Solo lawyers not to blame

My attention has been drawn to a piece in The Lawyer (8 September) which refers to an article under my name in the magazine Solo – published by the Sole Practitioners Group for its members.

The Lawyer piece implied that I was suggesting that sole practitioners are most guilty of negligence and incompetent conveyancing.

However, I would like to make clear that nowhere in the original article do I suggest that is my view. Indeed, it is most certainly not.

I understand that the journalist who wrote your commentary had only seen a draft of my article and perhaps the following statement was not included. But I think it is very important that your readers should see the statement included in the final Solo article, namely that: "I believe the first objective is to find out where the faults lie in incompetent, not to say, negligent conveyancing."

In another part of the article I said "all solicitors who do conveyancing work should be required to adopt standards". This makes it clear that I was not only talking about sole practitioners.

I do not know the London sole practitioner who suggested that the article was aimed at sole practitioners. I suspect that he or she had not actually read the Solo piece.

In my article I said I could complain against seven "firms" who I thought fell below required standards. Of the seven, only one is a sole practitioner. The rest are larger firms and I have no doubt that it is these, not sole practitioners, who are most likely to use unqualified staff. Those staff are often not properly supervised on conveyancing work – work which I feel many firms consider "throw-away".

Fay Landau, Law Society Sole Practitioners Group