SRA pushes law firm sites towards transparency
Publish date: 07 November 2019
Issue Number: 685
Diary: Legalbrief Forensic
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will once again sweep law firm websites in a bid to drag more of them into compliance with transparency rules. A Law Gazette report notes that since last December, firms offering certain services have been required to give details of price and the people who will be working on those services, while all firms must publish their complaints procedure. It was revealed this week that a random sweep this year of some 500 firms found that 17% had not even attempted to comply with the new requirements, while 58% had made some effort but failed to satisfy what the SRA wanted. Just a quarter were found to be fully compliant. Richard Williams, a policy associate for the SRA, told its annual compliance conference in Birmingham that a second sweep will be carried out before the end of the year to test if firms have got the message. The regulator has previously suggested that firms that do not comply with, or openly flout, rules on price transparency could face disciplinary measures. This month, attempts to compel firms to be more transparent will crank up further, with the digital logo created by the SRA becoming compulsory for all firms with websites to display. The logo was criticised this week by a solicitor who said its introduction was an ‘illegal gimmick’ that contravened data protection law. But Williams said the SRA was comfortable that the digital badge was lawful and indeed would be of benefit to solicitors.