FILTERS:

Unfriendly rules

15 May 2008

He feels that practitioners undertaking opening a new firm with little or no capital, are confronted not only with competing with extremely hungry and competitive colleagues and other unregulated competitors, but is forced to comply with the rules of the specific law society under which hey choose to practice. The rules of the LSNP contain some of the following obstacles to financial success:

Rule 72.1
Could mean that a practitioner is compelled to charge a client for every single attendance and will not be at liberty to engage with the new client in an arrangement, geared to attract new business, to consult at no charge and to ascertain whether he has a valid cause of action or not.
Rule 72.1.2 is even more astoundingly restrictive; one to consult with my client at ones office, unless one can proffer a compelling reason as to why one dared consult elsewhere. Does this mean that an attorney cannot visit his clients?

Rule 68
Rule 68 and the other rules pertaining to accounting which compel the practitioner to use a bookkeeper and an accountant.
Unprofessional conduct

Touting rr 89.1 and 89.27
Unexpectedly this section hits us with the age-old ungovernable and, in many instances, redundant - 'no touting'. Has anyone been paying attention over the past decade or so as commissions, rebates, kickbacks and referral fees are a way of the modern economy?

Rule 89.2
Rule 89.2 deems it unprofessional to share
'offices with or ... [occupy] ... offices having direct communication with any office occupied by any person who is not a practising member or in the employ of a practising member in the course of his or her practice'.
Absurd rule because as long as one delivers service of a professional standard, acts in the best interests of one's client and remains independent of ones fellow office dwellers, what harm is there in sharing one's office, reception, toilet, boardroom or tearoom with someone who is not an attorney?

Rule 89.12.1
So vague that it provides no guideline whatsoever as to what is and what is not permitted. In this regard see also r 91.1.2.

Rule 89.14
Rule 89.14 which states that it is unprofessional to '[make] use of any stationery or printed material of any description which in the opinion of the council does not befit the dignity, prestige and status of the profession'. Just what is meant by undignified?

Generally the writer found that the rules are amongst other things:

  • user-unfriendly;
  • hopelessly out of date;
  • out of touch with reality;
  • poorly worded;
  • subjective;
  • often not applied; and
  • restrictive as opposed to guiding;

Solutions
Maybe it is time for a complete overhaul of the rules, for young, dynamic practitioners with modern ideas to be engaged in a new process where an all-inclusive, modern and contemporary set of user-friendly, guiding rules are created, which state clearly and unequivocally what is allowed and what is not allowed?

De Rebus website


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