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Britain’s solicitors are today being urged to apologize to angry clients — even if they think they are in the right. More than 40,000 copies of the booklet “Handling Complaints Effectively” have been sent out by the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors. The British Law Society is encouraging lawyers not to be afraid of saying sorry if clients complain, and not to take a defensive attitude to complaints. It adds: “Even if you disagree with the complaint, you should apologize as a way of acknowledging that your client is unhappy.” The OSS has recently been engulfed in a crisis over the way it deals with complaints. Although it has had a $16.5 million (�11 million) injection this year, the Society is still not confident that it will meet the targets set for it by the Lord Chancellor. Alison Lindley, principal lawyer at the Consumers Association, says, “We welcome any efforts to improve complaints handling and to make solicitors more case-focused, but we have had concerns about the OSS and if things can’t be improved, we would prefer to see an independent regulator.” Michael Napier, president of the Law Society says, “Clients rightly choose solicitors for their legal expertise, independence, and ethical conduct, and they expect excellent levels of customer service, too. We are encouraging solicitors to become more customer-focused.” But Monty Martin, head of the Law Society’s Sole Practitioners Group, says, “It’s all common sense really -� to say sorry if you’ve made a mistake. It’s not something that we really should have to have laid down in a booklet.” One High Street solicitor agrees: “It’s not rocket science to realize that saying sorry will help — and it’s what we all do if things go wrong. I wish the Law Society would spend our increasing contributions on worthwhile ventures rather than these silly booklets.”

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