The Practice Advice Service (PAS) was launched in 1989 as an information helpline with just two solicitors and limited opening hours. Over the years, the scope of the Service and the size of the team has expanded and we now deal with around 30,000 enquiries a year. The helpline is open 09:00-17:00 Monday to Friday.
Practice Advice often has to react rapidly to concerns affecting the profession as a whole, such as email scams or external issues with banks, insurers or other matters.
In addition, we deal daily with queries on practice and procedure in anti-money laundering, conveyancing, costs, litigation, probate and various other areas of law. While we are not able to provide legal advice, we aim to offer practical suggestions for solicitors to consider to help resolve the issue.
To assist members, we also produce Q&As and articles for our website, e-newsletters and magazines.
What areas of law can we help with?
The areas of law we deal with have grown over the years, too:
- Anti-money laundering - we began advising solicitors on anti-money laundering in 2007. The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 extend to many areas of legal work such as conveyancing, litigation, probate and family work and impose criminal liability on individual solicitors personally. We often receive enquiries from anxious solicitors and we aim to provide a pragmatic approach to callers.
- Lender issues - when lenders culled large numbers of firms from their residential conveyancing panels, this loss of work had a huge financial impact on the income of many solicitors. PAS provided a dedicated solicitor who has been successful in helping many firms be reinstated on panels and has obtained valuable information which has helped to formulate our policy.
- Compliance – in 2011, we began offering general assistance to COLPs and COFAs on compliance issues.
What other helplines do you run?
In addition to the main Practice Advice line, we also run other helplines:
- Lawyerline – we advise solicitors on client care issues and how to deal with complaints. This is a sensitive area as issues which cannot be resolved in-house by the firm may go to the Legal Ombudsman who charges the firm £400 to consider the complaint.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance - in the previous years, many firms struggled to find insurance and PAS assisted many anxious solicitors concerned their business would have to wind up if they could not secure insurance by the required date.
- Pastoral Care – we can refer members needing professional or personal support in some way to appropriate organisations offering legal advice and emotional support.
We consistently receive positive feedback from members about the Service:
‘I felt very supported to speak with someone who understood the issues but was entirely objective’.
‘The assistance I received was extremely helpful, the service was outstanding.’
If we can help you on a point of practice or procedure, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0207 320 5675 or email firstname.lastname@example.org