Many law firms are handling complaints better, thus reducing the need for referral to the ombudsman.
Aperennial headache for the Gazette is the blizzard of initialisms with which we are compelled to pepper the magazine in the cause of brevity, particularly when writing about regulation: OLC, LSB, SRA, LeO (a rare acronym), LSCP, BSB. Some readers are irritated by this and, frankly, we sympathise.
It is a paradox of liberalisation that the regulatory burden on solicitors is so onerous when that tendency is more likely to be associated with protectionism. As justice secretary Chris Grayling grapples with reform, however, it is worth highlighting some rare words of praise for the profession from the acronym.
Chief legal ombudsman Adam Sampson’s team have found themselves underworked, because the volume of complaints has not been as high as anticipated. Many law firms are handling complaints better, thus reducing the need for referral to LeO – and this at a time when complaints to other ombudsman schemes are rising. In our own small way, we hope to have contributed to that welcome trend with our regular Complaints Clinic.
As ever with the forthright Mr Sampson, there is a brickbat with the bouquet. Too many solicitors are not telling clients of LeO’s existence.
Worse, a significant number still give the name of the defunct Legal Complaints Service or even its predecessor bodies. That is not the hallmark of a professional.