Did you know a number of people do not feel confident about what to expect from their solicitor and whether their conduct has been appropriate or not?
It's maybe not surprising as for most of us legal problems don't come along all that often, so we might not be in contact with solicitors all that much. When people do need to talk to a solicitor it's not unusual to feel a bit unsure about things.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is currently consulting about the standards solicitors should meet when they qualify and during their career. The aim is to cut through some of the confusion and identify in one place all the things that solicitors need to be able to do for their clients and be competent in.
That basically means that solicitors and their clients will both know the things that solicitors should be able to do, and the skills they should have. The standards will be set out in a document called a competence statement.
A draft statement was written based on views from research activities which included interviews and surveys with 503 individual consumers and 205 business consumers. The findings have made sure that the development of the draft competence statement is informed by the views and experiences of consumers.
People were asked what they expected a solicitor to be able to do competently. They were also asked to rate the adequacy of the draft statement overall as a description of the competences required by a 'competent solicitor'. The ratings received were largely positive.
Julie Brannan, SRA's Director of Education and Training, said: "This research has given us a strong evidence base to develop a Competence Statement that reflects the views and experiences of practitioners and consumers in describing what a competent solicitor needs to be able to do."
Once the standards are in place the SRA will move towards providing confidence to the public that solicitors are meeting the required standards to make sure they provide safe and good quality service.
The SRA would like to hear from you. What do you think a solicitor should be able to do for their client? Have you recently instructed a solicitor? What did you expect from him or her?
If you'd like to have your say, just head over to the SRA's website before 12 January 2015.