Solicitors Code of Conduct Rules 7, 8 and 9
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. What would you like to do?
What must publicity not be?
How must you not publicise your firm/practice?
By making unsolicited approaches in person/by telephone to a member of the public
Which 4 categories of people do not count as "members of the public"
- - Current or former clients
- -Another firm or its manager
- - An existing or potential professional or business connection
- -A commercial organisation or public body
If you intend to advertise outside of England and Wales what 2 rules must you comply with?
- - Rule 7 (and 15.07)
- -Rules about lawyer's publicity in that country
NB: If it is accidentally received in another jurisdiction it does not breach 7.04 if it was intended for a jurisdiction where it is permitted
Can you authorise another person to conduct publicity for your firm?
Yes - as long as they comply with Rule 7
In the course of setting up/carrying on the practice of WHAT, does rule 7 apply to?
- - The firm/practice
- -Any other business carried out by the firm/practice
- -Any other business or activity carried on by others
What types of publicity do rules 7.01-706 apply to?
All types including: firm description, name of the firm, stationery, advertisements, brochures, websites, directory entries, media appearances, promotional press releases, direct approaches in person/writing/electronic form
What words must the letterhead, website and emails of a recognised body/practitioenr show
"regulated by the Solicitors' Regulation Authority'
- - The firm's registered name and number if an LLP/Company OR
- -The name under which it is recognised by the SRA and the number allocated to it by the SRA
What names must be included on the letterhead of a law firm?
- - Name of sole practitioner if a sole practitioner
- - Names of partners if parntership with 20 partners or fewer
- - List of partners/statement tht list is open to inspcetion at the office with more than 20 partners
What must the letterhead of an LLP include?
- - A list of the members, identified as members OR
- -A statement that the list of members is open to inspection at the office
Unless the LLP is practising under a name other than its corporate name and has <20 partners, in which case the list must be on the letterhead
What must the letterhead of a recognised body which is a company have on it?
- - If one director, the name of the director, identified as a director
- - If more than one director a list of directors, identified as directors and a statement that a list of directors is open to inspection at the office
Where is the list of laws of advertising that must be complied with listed?
Is this a definitive list?
Rule 7 Guidance note 5
What must you do if you become aware of breaches of Rule 7 in publicity conducted on your behalf?
Take reasonable steps to have the publicity changed or withdrawn
Rule 7 Guidance note 8
What are the rules about stating charges in adversiting?
- - They must not be misleading or inaccurate
- - The fee should be the gross fee
- - The estimated fee should not be pitched at an unrealistically low level
- - The fee must not refer to an estimated/fixed fee + disbursements if normal overheads are treated as disbursements
- - Fees for conveyancing which do not include the cost of mortgage work/work done for a lender unless this is made clear
Rule 7 Guidance note 11
What should you be careful about when adverstising products at a discount or advertising "free" products?
- That this is not misleading. Make charge rates clear and anything which is said to be free must actually be free and not dependent on something else.
When is it misleading to have the word(s)
b) "and partners"
Included in the name of the firm?
- a) If none of the managers are solicitors
- b) If the firm did not formerly have more than one principal
Rule 7, Guidance note 14 and 15.
What information must you give on your firm's website or when you send an email from your firm according to EC Directive Regulations 2002 (2002/2013)?
- - Details of the professional body with which the firm is registered
- - Your professional title and member state where it was granted
- - A reference to the professional rules applicable to the firm in the member state where you are established and the means to acces them
Rule 7 Guidance note 17. See also note 18
What is included within the definition of publicity?
Any promotional material: emails if sent with the intention of promoting your practice, name and description of the firm in business material
Rule 17 note 19
Are unsolicited emails prohibited by Rule 7.03 (which prohibits unsolicited approaches)
No. Your ISP/Some jurisdictions may ban this
Rule 7 note 22
What other legislation must your website comply with?
EU E-Commerce Directive
Rule 7 note 26
What rules must publicity intended for a jurisdiction outside England and Wales comply with?
Rule 7 and the rules in force in that jurisdiction concerning lawyer's publicity.
For a website the relevant factor is the jurisdiction at which a website is targeted.
Rule 7 notes 27 and 28
Are unsolicited mailshots allowed to publicise lawyers' services?
Yes. But note the data protection rules (see note 33)
Is cold calling allowed to publicise lawyers' services?
No. This includes conducting surveys or calling people who have taken part in surveys
Rule 7 note 30
What is the additional problem of unsolicited communication inviting/inducing someone to enter into an investment activity?
This cannot be made by an unauthorised person (FSMA 2000) and constitutes financial promotion. If unauthorised, this is a criminal offence.
Rule 7 note 31 and 32
What should you do if you name a non-partner on the firm's letterhead?
Make their status clear (a printed line is insufficient)
Rule 7 note 34
What can you do if you are an LLP and you want to designate a non-member as a "partner"?
- - They must be a consultant or employee with equivalent standing to a member
- - Must be a practising lawyer and would be entitled to become a member of the LLP
- - Use explanatory words on notepaper, faxes, emails, brochures, websites and bills
- - Make a distinction between non-member partners and members where necessary
See Rule 7 notes 36-39. Equivalent guidelines on using the words partners in a company are in notes 40-42
When can you name a client in your publicity?
Only if you have their permission - you owe them a duty of confidentiality
Rule 7 note 46
Can you name staff on your letterhead?
Yes but you must not use the word solicitor by anyone who isn't a solicitor
Rule 7 note 44
Who may you share fees with?
- - Practising lawyers and businesses carrying on the practice of lawyers
- - Non-lawyer managers or owners within your own firm
- - A retired manager/owner/predecessor/dependents or representatives of them
- -Your genuine employee
- - Your non-lawyer employee
- - A law centre or advice service operation by a charity or non-commercial organisation
- - An estate agent who is your sub-agent for a property
- - A charity
When can you share fees with someone who is not listed in Rule 8.01?
- - Purpose is to facilitate the intorduction of capital/other services to your firm
- - Neither the fee sharing agreement nor the extent of the fees shares permits any fee sharer to influence or constrain your professional judgement re advice given to your client
- - The operation does not result in a prohibited partnership
- - If requested by the SRA you supply all details
- - It does not involve a breach of Rule 9
What is the definition of fee sharing?
Not strictly defined.
See Rule 8 note 1
What other rule must apart from Rule 8 must you consider when thinking about fee sharing arrangements?
Rule 1 - specifically independence and integrity. Even if permitted by Rule 8, certain aspects of the agreement may be improper
Rule 3 - Conflict of interests
Rule 9 - If it involves a referral
Rule 12 - Unauthorised partnerships
What is not permitted under Rule 8.02
Fee sharing in return for the fee-sharer providing capital +/ services to your client (as opposed to your firm)
Rule 8, guidance note 11 and 12
What percentage of fees can be shared?
Any amount in theory - but be careful of not breaching Rule 1, carry out a risk assessment.
If over 15% the SRA may ask for evidence of such a risk assessment
Rule 8 note 13
When do you need to disclose a fee-sharing relationship under 8.02 to a client?
if their affairs are significantly and directly connected to it.
See Rule 8 note 14
When is sharing with non-lawyers prohibited?
In cross-border activities
Rule 8 note 18
Referrals between who is Rule 9 not applicable to?
Lawyers and businesses carrying on the practice of lawyers.
What must you do when making/receiving referals from clients?
- Do nothing which could compromise your independence/ability to act in the best interests of your client
What must you do regarding these rules with potential introducers
Draw their attention to Rule 9 and (if relevant, Rule 7)
Who must you NOT enter into a referral agreement with?
People who prosecute personal injury cases - unless it is abroad.
What must be ensured under Rule 9.02?
- - Must be in writing and available for inspection by the SRA
- - Introducer must undertake to comply with Rule 9
- - Clients referred by the introducer have not been acquired as a result of marketing or publicity prohibited by Rule 7.
- - Agreement must not infringe any rules in the Code of Conduct or allow introducer to influence/constrain your professional judgement
- - The introducer must give the client all relevant information concerning the referral
- - You must tell the client this also
What are the rules when you refer a client to a third party?
- - You must do so in good faith
- - You cannot enter into any agreement that would restrict your freedom to recommend any particular firm, agency or business except for regulated mortgage contracts, general insurance contracts or pure protection contracts.
- - if you refer a client to someone who can only offer products from one source you must inform the client in writing of this limitation
- - You cannot recommend anyone likely to need an endowment policy or similar life insurance + investment policy.
What does not count as "payment" for the purposes of rule 9.02?
Normal hospitality, e.g. corporate entertainment, dinners or lunches - as long as proportionate to the relationship with a business contact/introducer.
Rule 9 note 15
What would you like to do?
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