Find a Solicitor experiencing accessibility issues
A notice has been published on the My Law Society login page describing potential user issues with accessibility to law firm Find a Solicitor profiles.
Used to identify solicitors with specific practice areas and Law Society accreditations, the Find a Solicitor search tool quickly enables an interested party to confirm whether a solicitor is regulated.
It can also play a key role in conveyancing transactions, acting as another means of checking whether the firm on the other side is genuine, prior to transferring funds.
A recurring feature in the SRA’s Risk Outlook, protection of client funds is a key priority for firms, especially given the sheer volume of fraudulent interferences and incidents of email interception which have occurred over the past year.
The Outlook goes on to highlight so-called “Friday Afternoon Fraud” commonly targeting conveyancing funds, encouraging firms to ensure that effective prevention strategies are in place.
In light of this and the reliance placed on the Find a Solicitor tool, it could be seen as concerning that accessibility to firm profiles is currently experiencing difficulties, especially over the upcoming Bank Holiday. The SRA have made it clear that protection of client funds should remain paramount, with firms warned the consequences of failing to implement necessary checks and procedures on a wide-scale basis. At a time where the risk of fraud is even more likely, firms need assurance that their chosen strategy will work effectively each time it is used.
Chris Harris, Managing Director of Lawyer Checker said: “In the lead up to a busy Bank Holiday it’s a shame that Find a Solicitor is having problems. Firms need to be particularly aware of fraud at busy times and doing everything you can to ensure that you are sending money to the right place must be a priority. The recent SRA Risk Outlook 2017/18 says, ‘considering using systems such as Lawyer Checker to verify that what is described as the contact or bank information for a third party law firm is genuine’ so this just highlights this is an issue that firms need to take action against, before it’s too late.”
Having contacted the Law Society to gain more information on the issue, a spokesperson told Today’s Conveyancer that the system issues were simply technical. They stated that just one issue remains, which is currently being cleared up, and have assured that they don’t want the system to be down any longer than is necessary. The spokesperson concluded by stating the Find a Solicitor tool will be back up and running as soon as possible.