Whether you need to prepare from scratch for an SQM audit or an initial assessment against the Lexcel Quality Mark or just need a bit of “top and tailing” before an Annual Maintenance Visit, we have experience of working with quality marks stretching back to 2001. We can offer everything from light touch advice to full development of everything you need from scratch. For Lexcel, the service includes completing the Law Society application form and the self-assessment Checklist for you.
Stuart Blake is a Law Society accredited Lexcel Assessor and conducts regular assessments for each of the three bodies authorised by the Law Society to carry out Lexcel assessments. He is also a Legal Aid Agency auditor for their Specialist Quality Mark. Contact Stuart if you want to arrange an assessment or audit.
If you want the comfort of knowing how your compliance with the SRA Standards and Regulations measures up, or you would find a mock Lexcel assessment useful ahead of a real assessment, we can help. A report will be produced for you showing clearly where you comply and where you need to focus attention to bring your practice up to standard.
File reviews always bottom of the list of priorities? Let's face it, this is an issue for more practices than not. The pressure to deal with client's matters, attend meetings, keep the billing up to date etc. etc., means that it is common for file reviews to be weeks, if not months behind. Quite apart from Lexcel or SQM requirements, requirement 4.4 of the SRA Code of Conduct for firms says you must “Have an effective system for supervising clients’ matters”. Under the 2011 Code of conduct, the wording was “have a system for supervising clients' matters, to include the regular checking of the quality of work by suitably competent and experienced people" and there is no reason to think the SRA no longer expects you to check the quality of work. Failure to keep on top of supervision is a breach which your COLP may have to report to the SRA. So how much time do you need to set aside to conduct file reviews? The answer will depend entirely upon the structure and size of your practice, but however long it is, your "suitably competent and experienced people" are a valuable and expensive resource. Your supervision of the actual work in terms of advice given and action taken is a matter for your internal arrangements, but the compliance aspect is something that you can efficiently and cost effectively outsource to Beacon Legal Management and Compliance.
Many firms which undertake transactional work are subject to the 2017 Money Laundering Regulations and Lexcel requirements to have an independent audit function in respect of the anti-money laundering policies, controls and procedures. We can undertake such an audit and our written report will contain an appraisal of where you are at with your AML arrangements together with suggestions and guidance on where you could improve them. Stuart has many years’ experience as a Money Laundering Reporting Officer as well as delivering training on the topic.
Beacon Legal Management and Compliance offers training in areas where compliance is necessary and in compliance matters themselves, in particular: COLP/COFA Complaints Handling Equality, Diversity and Anti-discrimination Conflicts of interest Prevention of Financial Crime Information Management and Data Protection Courses can be combined freely to provide a tailored training programme. Prices start from £300 +VAT for half a day.