Solicitors Assistance Scheme under threat

The Solicitors Assistance Scheme is preparing to fight for its survival after 34 years of advising solicitors, legal staff and their relatives on problems as diverse as disciplinary actions and alcohol addiction.

The scheme’s committee is concerned that the split between regulation and representation at the Law Society, which currently administers the scheme, could affect its ability to help solicitors in need.

Duncan Finlyson, the scheme’s administrator, said: “It’s one of the things that’s been caught up in the uncertainty of where things are going. There’s a concern that, with the profession splitting into two halves, they’ll be split off from the regulatory input.”

Currently, the Solicitors Assistance Scheme helps around 800 solicitors through its panel of 80 member firms, who undertake to give free advice to those who need it on matters such as employment issues, financial difficulties and criminal proceedings.

Proposals including a more formal structure and ramping up the scheme’s profile will be debated at its annual conference in November.