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QLS Senior Counsellors (Senior Counsellors) are experienced practitioners who are available to provide guidance to a practitioner on any professional or ethical problem. The service should be seen by practitioners as "calling a professional friend”.
Some of the areas where Senior Counsellors may be able to assist include:
- guidance on a professional or ethical problem
- career advice on options such as employment, partnership offers etc.
- whether to report a particular situation to QLS or the Legal Services Commission
- whether a notification should be made to a professional indemnity insurer
- acting as an intermediary between QLS and a practitioner wishing to remain anonymous
It is not part of their function to provide a second legal opinion for the benefit of a practitioner's client on a matter being handled by a practitioner.
Communication between a practitioner and a Senior Counsellor is confidential. Practitioners seeking guidance should provide full information to enable a correct assessment of the situation. They should be frank in responding to any questions or with requests to provide further information.
A Senior Counsellor who is consulted by a practitioner may act for that practitioner in any subsequent proceedings relating to the practitioner's conduct, however, they cannot act for any client of the practitioner, other than with the consent of the practitioner.
It is important for practitioners, once they have determined that they should obtain guidance, not to delay contacting a Senior Counsellor. Early contact to seek guidance may alleviate the practitioner's stress caused by not knowing how to approach or resolve the problem and enable the Senior Counsellor to provide a wider range of options to resolve the problem.
The role of a QLS Senior Counsellors should be distinguished from LawCare, the specialised wellbeing service provided by QLS. Through confidential support from specialist wellbeing professional, LawCare can assist practitioners, their immediate families and trainee solicitors in relation to emotional and stress related problems caused by, for example, family or mental health problems, drug or alcohol dependency, financial concerns or practice pressures.