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Delays – providing timely delivery, follow-up and review of legal services

Legal practice directors of incorporated legal practices (ILPs) are required to ensure they have appropriate management systems in place, but the QLS Ethics and Practice Centre recommends that all practices (whether ILP, sole trader or partnership) have appropriate management systems in place.[1]

There are 10 areas identified in which appropriate management systems ought to be implemented in order to comply with the Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld). Providing for the timely delivery, follow-up and review of legal services is one of the 10 areas.

Delay is a major reason for both professional negligence claims and client dissatisfaction.

Solicitors ought to be aware of key time limits – whether they be court dates, statute of limitation dates, contract provisions or simply responding to communications with clients and other parties in a timely fashion.

This month, we are highlighting resources to help you ensure you have appropriate management systems in your office to prevent delays and the potential claims and complaints that may follow. Keep a lookout on our QLS Solicitor Support LinkedIn Group, and Instagram for further posts.

We will look at:

  • identifying factors that may lead to a missed date
  • examples of delays
  • dealing with practitioners and clients who consider everything is urgent
  • potential consequences of delays
  • implementing an adequate reminder or diary system
  • implementing a back-up plan for unplanned absences of practitioners or key staff
  • the usefulness of regular inactivity reports to avoid claims and client complaints
  • the importance of regular file reviews and file audits.

Importantly, are all of your staff trained on your office’s procedures for recording dates, entering bring-ups, assigning tasks and checking or following up on an item that should have been actioned? Are you addressing issues of non-compliance with appropriate practice systems?

The Practice Advisory Service is a complimentary QLS member service for sole/micro practices across Queensland. Our solicitors can meet with you to discuss the above issues and other practice management queries. For more information or to book a practice visit, contact the QLS Ethics and Practice Centre on 07 3842 5843 or email ethics@qls.com.au.

Footnote
1 Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld), s117(3).

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