The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has confirmed it will investigate the actions of lawyers involved in the legal proceedings following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
The news comes after the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report, which last week revealed that former Hammond Suddards partner Peter Metcalf had recommended the "review and alteration" of police statements relating to the tragedy that caused the deaths of 96 football fans.
The SRA said the report "identifies serious concerns."
SRA executive director Samantha Barrass said: "We have considered the material in the public domain, including the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report, and have decided to begin an investigation. The issues arising from the report impact on the public's confidence in the legal profession and we will undertake a thorough investigation of those issues.
"The first step is to begin a detailed review of all relevant evidence arising from the report and from the various proceedings."
The report described how statements made by South Yorkshire Police officers underwent an "unprecedented process of review and alteration" before their submission to the official inquiry into the tragedy. Metcalf is identified as having worked with a small team of officers led by former South Yorkshire Police Chief Superintendent Donald Denton.
Professor Richard Moorhead, director of University College London's Centre for Ethics and Law, believes that Metcalf has "serious questions to answer" about the role he played in the cover-up.
"The independent report makes the case that the statements, amended by him and South Yorkshire Police, were misleading. The question is, does any argument that he was simply defending his client overcome the apparently misleading nature of those statements?"
Hammond Suddards merged with Edge Ellison in 2000 to become the firm known as Hammonds, before subsequently combining with U.S. firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey in 2011. Until this year the firm was known as Squire Sanders Hammonds in the U.K., before a global rebrand at the start of the year as Squire Sanders. Metcalf left the firm in April 2000.
The announcement by the SRA -- which added that as yet it has not received any formal complaints about the conduct of solicitors involved in Hillsborough legal proceedings -- comes ahead of the expected decision by the Government to launch a fresh inquest into the events surrounding the tragedy.