Helping look after our clients
Our New Zealand Law Society inspectors carry out a very important role on behalf of the profession.
The Inspectorate team has a variety of functions, all connected with ensuring that lawyers are looking after clients’ funds according to the various requirements set out in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, and the rules and regulations established under that legislation.
This issue of LawTalk takes a look at the work of the Inspectorate – a team of 10 people located in various parts of the country.
As the feature states, the main aims of the Inspectorate relate to protection of both the New Zealand public and lawyers themselves. Three main areas of protection are at the forefront of this regulatory function:
- One is protecting client funds that are being held in a trust account.
- Two is protection for the public at large – not necessarily the people that have got funds in the trust account itself, but the knowledge that lawyers are held to a high standard, that they are held to account.
- Three is protecting the reputation of lawyers, because if lawyers are compliant it increases the reputation of the profession as a whole.
Speaking as a partner of a provincial firm, we welcome the fact that a Law Society inspector will visit us to check that all is well with our firm’s trust account, its management and its operation.
The report that the inspector provides is most helpful, as it confirms for us that we are generally following good practices with our trust account function and also highlights areas where we can enhance our performance.
Our clients are very important to us, and everything we have in place that benefits our clients is both valuable to us as a firm and appreciated – on behalf of our clients – by us as lawyers.
We, as lawyers, are in a very privileged position. People from all walks of life come to us with a whole range of matters which are almost always highly important aspects of their lives, and sometimes quite critical. These people become our valued clients, trusting us with these significant matters.
They deserve our trust, and it is hugely beneficial for us all that our Law Society inspectors provide quality control by undertaking independent inspections that help the public to continue to have confidence in us – their trusted advisors.