Friday, August 19, 2011

...And Complaints Can Be Bad For You

In my previous post, I vainly hoped lawyers could learn from the complaints process they now have to follow. Unfortunately (h/t to Legal Futures) they haven't quite absorbed the lessons. This is definitely a case of being placed on the naughty step.

Two law firms refused to follow the Legal Ombudsman's orders to compensate clients. The result was the LeO went to court to get enforcement orders with the consequence that in addition to paying the compensation the firms had to pay the LeO's court costs.

Stupid? I think so. Law firms aren't going to get anywhere by being adversarial. As the LeO says:

“The cases are a reminder that ombudsman decisions, once accepted by complainants, are binding. Lawyers need to remember that our decisions are enforceable through the courts and that failure to comply promptly can mean an unnecessary expense.
“Those who don’t comply are likely to have to pay costs ordered by the courts, and risk being referred by us on conduct grounds to their regulatory body.”
I'm sure the legal profession must be thinking the world is conspiring against it. All we need is the next step to name the law firms. They should have warning stickers.


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