The Law Society has launched the first of a suite of interactive ethical scenarios, through its online continuing professional development centre, to support solicitors to recognise and navigate difficult situations they may encounter in their professional lives
The first scenario concerns conflicts of interest. A solicitor finds herself in a position of potential conflict. The interactive scenario takes users through a series of decisions, introduces new considerations to challenge the user, provides feedback on choices and is substantiated by reference to the Solicitors Regulation Authority Code of Conduct.
The scenario highlights the importance of identifying conflicts of interest at an early stage, of timely action or intervention when a conflict begins to emerge and emphasises the need for clear communication with clients.
Further scenarios will address other common ethical themes, such as maintaining confidentiality and knowing when to raise a concern to supervisors in your firm.
The scenarios have been developed as part of the Law Society’s recent Ethics Project to explore how the Law Society can best support and promote a culture of ethics within the profession. Interviews were conducted with solicitors, legal academics, members of the Law Society’s Practice Advice Service, the Solicitors Regulation Authority and other professional bodies.
One of the areas where there was a clear call for more resources and proactive support was in practical ethical training that references real ethical dilemmas. This was reinforced by responses to an online survey on ethics on the Law Society’s website in October 2015. The findings from the Ethics Project will also assist in directing the future development of the Law Society’s ethics work, now a core element of the Society’s strategy.