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Competent work practices are not just about reducing risks…

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 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 competent work practices is one of the 10 areas.

The most common form of risk management is a response to a client complaint or potential claim. This is crisis management or ‘clean-up management’. Practising law can be extremely stressful, for you and those around you, if you are constantly operating in crisis mode.

To establish appropriate competent work management systems, practitioners should be actively involved in minimising the risk potential of complaints and claims through risk identification and assessment, both within the practice’s management systems (IT, HR, finance) and the file management systems. This is a continuous process.

This month, we are highlighting resources to help you ensure you have appropriate management systems in your office to ensure competent work practices are implemented and maintained by all staff. Keep a lookout on our QLS Solicitor Support LinkedIn Group, and Instagram for further posts.

We will look at:

  • the importance of using file task lists or workflows
  • the importance of practice management procedure checklists (file opening checklists, archiving checklists, ongoing cyber awareness, thorough on-boarding of staff)
  • the impact ill health within the practice (or family members of practitioners and staff) may have on performance
  • the long-term effects of stimulants on health and behaviour, and the increasing impact these are having on the profession
  • the importance of regular file reviews and the value of regular random file audits
  • business continuity planning to help mitigate the effects of unplanned or uncontrollable events.

Importantly, are all of your staff trained to proactively identify potential risks? What is your firm’s cultural response to staff who have identified a perceived risk, or potentially a better way of managing a perceived risk within your practice? Who is responsible for implementing and overseeing compliance within your practice?

The Practice Advisory Service is a complimentary service for sole/micro practices across Queensland and can assist you with 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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