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"We give a kwaliti servis" - lawyers

Editorial Staff

An anonymous posting, purporting to be by a solicitor in private practice, has appeared on the website of The Law Society's Gazette, the organ of the Law Society of England and Wales. If there was ever a reason to question the quality of the profession, this is probably high on the list.

The posting appeared yesterday, 6 June, in response to an article saying that proposed changes to the legal profession would undermine the Solicitors' branch and that, to compete, solicitors would have to change or be pushed out of the market by a new breed of what solicitors claim will be under-qualified practitioners out to grab the more lucrative areas of high-street practice.

The arguments are right: already conveyancing and will writing are open to those who have considerably less training than solicitors and, in many cases, would not reach the educational threshold to join the profession. Other areas have been taken over by highly but differently qualified groups: accountants (tax advice and many of the "consulting" functions they offer) and even direct access to barristers in litigation for professions such as surveyors, cutting out solicitors entirely.

The anonymous posting says "Whilst most solicitors have the clarity and vision the embrace ABS's there are still going to be a minority who will never change tact." Following a list of advertising / promotional services, he says "... these people are very good at obtaining public enquiries on mass."

Of course, the poster meant "to embrace," "change tack" and "en masse."

Within minutes, a rather better example of the profession had posted a response pointing out the errors.

And that such things hardly instil confidence in the quality of the profession or the services it provides. After all, the practice of law is all about the use of English (at least in England) and a failure at this most basic level suggests a fundamental inability to do the job.