Each law practice is now required to have a “designated lawyer” for that practice.
The designated lawyer will:
The designated lawyer must also notify the Law Society within 14 days if any person leaves the law practice having been advised within the previous 12 months that the law practice was dissatisfied with, or intended to investigate their conduct in relation to prohibited behaviour.
If an investigation into the alleged behaviour has concluded and there are no reasonable grounds to suspect that the lawyer engaged in misconduct, then no report to the Law Society is required.
Within 14 days of a written warning or dismissal due to prohibited behaviour, the designated lawyer should submit a report using the designated lawyer report form.
Rule 11.4.3 requires that a report by the designated lawyer to the Law Society must be:
The report must also be supported by any appropriate documentation held by or available to the designated lawyer. This includes:
Rule 11.4.4 requires the designated lawyer to certify annually the law practice’s compliance with:
The designated lawyer must also certify annually that they have complied with the reporting obligations referred to above.
Certification will be completed online and is likely to be part of the annual practising certificate renewals process.
Failure to make required reports will be treated as a breach of the rules. This means that a designated lawyer may be referred to a standards committee and potentially face a disciplinary response.
You must notify the Registry Team at the Law Society who your designated lawyer is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a sole practitioner or barrister sole you will be automatically recorded as being the designated lawyer.
The designated lawyer must be in practice on their own account, such as a partner, director or sole practitioner.
In the case of a partnership, or incorporated law firm, each partner or director is individually responsible for ensuring that their practice has a designated lawyer. If a law practice does not have a designated lawyer, each partner or director will have contravened rule 11.3.
Sole practitioners will be required to complete the “designated lawyer” reporting requirements for their own practice.
No – in-house lawyers are not required to have a designated lawyer.