Accountants to circulate Law Soc investigations

Law firms can learn from the mistakes of other solicitors under a scheme being set up by a chartered accountants firm to distribute the results of Law Society investigations into law firms.

Geo Little Sebire & Co's legal services division is planning to send participating lawyers anonymous extracts from Law Society Monitoring Unit reviews of other solicitors' client accounts.

GLS already provides its existing clients with “an anonymous summary of significant and novel matters raised following monitoring of other clients”. It now plans to extend this free service to other solicitors in England and Wales.

In return for receiving the summaries, law firms must send GLS a copy of their latest LSMU reports and any future reports.

Partner Alex Lawrie said the scheme would give solicitors information on what the LSMU tended to look at and so enable solicitors to get up to speed on their accounts.

“I strongly believe that an alternative source of information will be of enormous benefit to solicitors. At the moment there is inadequate dissemination of the Law Society's findings.

“We are finding that some things happen to firm after firm and we would very much like to get this information through to clients in a way that is easy to understand.”

The LSMU makes about 1,200 visits to firms every year to check compliance with the accountancy rules governing solicitors. In severe cases, failure to comply can result in referral to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors.

Bob Butler, head of the unit, was cautious about the new service. He was anxious that confidentiality should not be breached and that elements of reports were not taken out of context.

“I think there are positive aspects to it, especially if it goes towards improving compliance in general. Our intention is to be positive if possible with firms and we would not want to see this undermined.”