The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has revealed that the number of solicitors reported for being dishonest has almost doubled over the past two years. An article published in The Law Society Gazette yesterday reported that the financial strains of the current economic climate have begun to take their toll across the profession.
The executive director of the SRA, Samantha Barrass, spoke at an event in Birmingham in which the SRA launched their first Risk Outlook and annual assessment of risks to the profession.
Barrass said “When market conditions are tough and financial problems begin to bite, individuals who are usually principled and ethical can succumb to pressures as temptations, getting drawn into dishonest practices that put their clients, their businesses and their future at risk.
“These actions, often a consequence of financial strain, are a real and present danger.”
The Gazzette reported that nearly a third of all interventions during the past five years involved suspected dishonesty and almost half of them included breaches of the accounts rules.
The launch of the Risk Outlook outlines how the SRA assesses drivers in the legal services market and how they evaluate the key risks associated with legal firms providing a proficient and ethical service.
“Neither we nor the firms we regulate can eliminate risk altogether, and indeed we should not, because well-controlled risks are a feature of a healthy market” said Barrass.