Guide to Good Practice - Collected Law Society Practice Notes
The Law Society, £60, The Law Society
This book is a compilation of current Law Society guidance notes. They are available on the Law Society’s website to anyone with a free My Law Society account. So why do we need a collection of them?
It is useful to comprehend the range of guidance and the many and various areas of practice that are covered. I presume they were produced originally to answer frequently asked questions. All law started with collections of rulings. The areas covered include costs, crime, private client and conveyancing, as well as practice management and regulation.
Each document is prefaced with the question, ‘Who should read this practice note?’ Many are directed at all solicitors and support staff. It is impressive how much advice there is out there and correspondingly how much guidance we need to have regard to. It is mainly guidance rather than prescription, but it is advice we need to follow in most cases or face the consequences. Here is a selection of issues dealt with:
- What happens if you go to see a client at their home and you do not tell them of their right to cancel? Can you sue for their fees if they do not pay?
- What do you do if you are asked to telephone a prisoner on a mobile number?
- What areas must you cover with the person who has called in for five minutes for ‘a bit of advice’?
- Do lawyers working in local government need indemnity cover?
- What should you cover in an initial interview?
- What is the ‘tipping factor’ in recruitment?
- What guidance is relevant to the pile of loose papers, dead files and documents you borrowed from the deeds safe months ago and didn’t return?
It is guidance we need to follow, and much forms useful bases for training. Most of these articles are clear and concise, are relevant to small and medium firms, and give very good practical advice which helps us. Some are demanding, depending on what areas of practice you deal with and are, perhaps, a counsel of perfection.
As I was once told, do a good job for yourself and you cannot help but do a good job for your client. However, I did count 17 different things to check before closing files, which I must remember when tackling the pile referred to above.
David Pickup is a partner at Pickup & Scott Solicitors, Aylesbury