Why Following the Principles of the SRA Makes for Good Legal Marketing

The Solicitors Regulation Authority was established in 2007, in its own words,

“to set, promote and secure in the public interest standards of behaviour and professional performance necessary to ensure that clients receive a good service and that the rule of law is upheld.”

But how does your SRA compliance affect your business and the marketing thereof?

The SRA Handbook

The SRA Handbook sets out the standards and requirements expected to be achieved and observed by those in the legal profession, “for the benefit of the clients they serve and in the public interest.”

Contained within the handbook are the Principles of the SRA. These ten principles are mandatory and apply to all individuals under SRA regulation and to all aspects of practice. The outline the fundamental ethical and professional standards that are to be met by all legal firms and individuals who administer legal services.

As outlined in the SRA Handbook, these Principles are:

You must:

1. uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice;

2. act with integrity;

3. not allow your independence to be compromised;

4. act in the best interests of each client;

5. provide a proper standard of service to your clients;

6. behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services;

7. comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner;

8. run your business or carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles;

9. run your business or carry out your role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity; and

10. protect client money and assets.

These Principles, then, lay out in no uncertain terms the ethical requirements incumbent upon those who provide legal services, whether as firms or as individuals.

Whenever you are faced with an ethical dilemma, then the Principles are there to be taken as a starting point for its resolution and you should always have regard for them.

But how does this relate to the marketing of your firm?

One thing to bear in mind is that these Principles not only relate to the individuals and firms directly regulated by the SRA, be they traditional firms of solicitors or ABSs, in-house and overseas; but also, they relate to anyone you allow to operate on your behalf. Thus anything done by someone acting for you which breaches the Principles is essentially a breach on your part.

This is of course true for the marketing of your firm.

How can you guarantee your financial promotions do not violate SRA guidelines?

The simple answer is to ensure that your marketing campaign is being managed by a firm with experience in the legal services industry. You need to employ a firm that understands the rules and guidelines laid out in the SRA Handbook, specifically the Principles as outlined above.

For more information on how to ensure your legal marketing does not violate the SRA Principles, you can call us or fill in one of our surveys to get a consultation.