The SAS remains open and operating during this difficult time.
However, in the light of government and NHS advice, SAS volunteers will be working remotely. If you need advice, we would ask that you contact the advisor direct, using their contact details from this website.
We continue to monitor the evolving situation on a daily basis, but should you have any concern about locating assistance,, please feel free to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, we hope you, your colleagues, family and friends keep safe.
A lifeline for solicitors
The Solicitors’ Assistance Scheme offers free confidential help and advice for all solicitors in England and Wales, their families and employees on any problem troubling them, whether personal or professional. We offer a lifeline to solicitors with problems by providing a fellow practitioner who will listen and help. We are proud of the help that we provide.
The scheme, which has been in operation for over thirty years:
• comprises around 80 volunteers from all over England and Wales, who are practicing solicitors with a high degree of skill and experience in their chosen areas of practice
• provides a wide variety of skills and experience, including employment and insolvency advice
• ensures that any solicitor with a problem will receive free help and advice from a scheme panel member
• guarantees that confidentiality will be maintained.
The scheme members offer a minimum of one hour of pro bono advice and assistance.
Any further advice and assistance will be offered at the discretion of the scheme member, or will be by way of a formal retainer.
The duty of confidentiality starts from the moment that the Scheme member picks up the phone to speak to the solicitor seeking advice under the Scheme.
• The scheme members are independent of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Law Society and the Legal Complaints Service
• Whether or not a formal retainer is entered into, the members are required to respect the confidentiality of the matter being discussed
These principles are central to the ethos of the Solicitors’ Assistance Scheme
Free initial advice
The constitution of the SAS provides that members of its panel will provide free initial advice to appropriate individuals (i.e. solicitors, their families and their staff) seeking help via the Scheme.
This legal advice need not be face-to-face, and is usually given on the telephone. You need not reveal who you are and you can remain anonymous. The Scheme member will therefore not be accepting professional liability for negligence.
Should you wish, you can formally retain the services of the solicitor – see formalised advice.
All advice given by members is given in their own name and not as representatives of or on behalf of the Scheme.
The free advice can lead to the person seeking advice entering into a retainer, with the Scheme member acting as solicitor in the normal way. In such a case the usual solicitor/client relationship commences.
If you wish to ask the panel member to act for you, you can negotiate with the panel member, the terms of the retainer. Some solicitors in the scheme have “special rates” that they offer to those who needed help from the SAS. However, the particular terms of the retainer will vary from solicitor to solicitor.
In cases of a criminal investigation or disciplinary proceedings, you may also wish to consider whether your professional indemnity insurers can assist. Under the terms of your policy, the insurance company is obliged in certain circumstances to meet “defence costs”. You may also have other insurance such as directors and officers liability insurance which may provide you with cover and you should check the terms of your policies carefully. If you have cover,, notwithstanding any attempt by the insurer to impose a solicitor upon you, you can ask them to appoint the solicitor of your choice. Trade Union members may also be offered help with the cost of their legal fees by their Union. The particular panel member who advises and assists you, can discuss this further, if appropriate.
Specialist advice regarding Frauds involving solicitors
Frauds that might involve solicitors including Cyber Fraud and Client Account Fraud.
Help and assistance