The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has released their first public statement on the application of outsourced legal services for solicitors practicing in England and Wales.
As originally reported by our LPO Ethics Resource Center (www.LPOethics.com), the SRA release states, “Where law firms are outsourcing some of their legal or administrative work to other law firms or non law firms, the SRA’s guidance is that this is allowed on the basis that all relevant rules are complied with (Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007) and that the arrangement is made transparent and is agreed with the client.”
The statement continues with the SRA citing existing ethical guidelines deeming them applicable to outsourced legal services.
In conclusion, the SRA notes, “In accepting work from a client, the firm must always consider whether the work should be outsourced at all as they should have the necessary resources and competency to undertake the task. In summary a firm must act in the best interests of their client and comply with their core duties.”
It’s been reported the Law Society is currently exploring these issues, but has yet to formally comment on the topic of LPO.
The recent announcement to UK solicitors by the SRA stands in contrast to lawyers in US jurisdictions who have been able to rely on ethical guidance provided as early as 2006 in some jurisdictions. The most notable guidance in the United States is Opinion 08-451 issued by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility in 2008.
Additional details on the complete SRA legal outsourcing statement are available on our recently launched LPO Ethics Resource Center (www.LPOethics.com).
The LPO Ethics Resource Center is a free resource that allows legal professionals to keep abreast on up-to-date information on the ethical policies and opinions relevant to outsourced legal services. This site compiles all of the latest information and breaking news regarding legal process outsourcing into one convenient resource.