I’m pleased to report a new service offering from Cann Consultancy.
We’ve spent years perfecting a Compliance Handbook to mirror the new Code of Conduct from the SRA. This is now available to legal businesses wanting to embed quality and consistency into the fabric of their organisations.
We are offering the complete Handbook or individual sections and precedents depending on requirements.
For more details follow this link: Handbook details
There is now no doubt whatsoever that Alternative Business Structures are here, and here to stay. Cooperative Legal Services will be one of the first ones to be authorised to conduct reserved legal activities later this year, and they are already a multi-million pound legal business doing non-reserved work. They are going to be a formidable opponent in the legal market place. They are not alone….
Unlike other competitors who have come and gone and been shrugged off by the traditional law firms, this set will be able to market into your client base directly. The reason? They already have those same Clients as their own customers for other products and services and so they are perfectly at liberty to market to them and boast about their ‘new’ legal services. It is a racing certainty that they will be 100 times better at marketing than those traditional law firms, and will start to chip away at their client base.
The answer is to start marketing to existing client bases like there is no tomorrow. If nothing else is done with marketing budgets in 2012, it is vital that a reliable database is constructed of all existing clients and they need to be regularly contacted, with innovative information, offers, news, etc. Most law firms rely for the majority of their work on existing Clients and recommendations from existing clients. It must make very good sense indeed to be contacting those existing clients and finding ways of making sure the new entrants cannot get their claws into them.
Just a quick note to remind all legal businesses that their application form for renewal this year will be a lot more comprehensive than previously, and will need to be completed on-line.
One of the changes will be the need to categorise any complaints with a lot more detail than you perhaps currently use.
For firms with few or no complaints, this should not be a problem, but for larger firms, it may be worth introducing the new categorisation for all new complaints and perhaps find the time to add any existing ones using the new categories. Any trends in complaints should be reviewed at least twice a year, and the categories will help you to identify any trends that need dealing with.
The link to the SRA note is complaints reporting
I have real doubts whether the ban on PI referral fees will succeed in squeezing the ‘compensation culture’ genie back in the bottle.
Surely, if the Government ever find time to implement changes, all that will happen is that one or more large PI claimant firms will join (merge, acquire, be acquired) with one or more Claims Management Companies, form ABS’s and then continue as if nothing had happened?
No referral fees will be paid because everything will be in-house, but exactly the same TV advertising, ambulance chasing, and other marketing methods will be applied to bring in the PI work.
What is the point?
The 6th October has been and gone and most lawyers could be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss was about. The really important date, however, is still out there.
By March 2012 one solicitor in every law firm in the country is going to have to sign their name to an application form to be approved by the SRA as the Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (“COLP”). I have already advised that that person should be a partner/member/director/owner because they have to have sufficient authority to be able to view all financial and management information as well as every file in the practice if they want to.
That application form will contain somewhere an assurance to be made by the COLP that their firm is fully compliant with the SRA Handbook 2011. How many lawyers can honestly sign their name to such an assurance about their firms? Perhaps the 15% or so that have achieved the Lexcel standard? What about the rest?
Now is the time for all firms to take stock and assess the gap between their current state of compliance and where they need to be. They then just have a few short months to work their way through an action plan to plug the gaps, so that one of their number can have the courage to sign up to being their COLP.
Good luck! And if you need any help, you know who to call
It is very important next March 2012 that you choose your Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA) wisely. You must choose someone that you trust to make sensible decisions, but more importantly, that has the authority to report non-compliances to the SRA without fear of being overruled by the partnership.
If that person is thwarted in their attempt to report what they regard as a serious non-compliance to the SRA, their only option is to resign their post. To have to explain why the COLP or COFA has resigned to the SRA could be just as damaging as the report would have been if it had been permitted.
Despite the fact that the SRA authorisation of ABSs is now likely to be delayed, it is highly likely that the rest of the Handbook will come into force on the old timetable. That means that all law firms will need to have appointed a Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and a Compliance Officer for Administration and Finance (COFA) by March.
Cann Consultancy have launched a new service to help law firms prepare for the changes. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
I am pleased to announce that Cann Consultancy has launched another service for hard-pressed managing partners from the Cann-do range. This one is founded on the need for firms to make the most of the IT resources they have paid for and offers an ‘audit’ and pragmatic report looking to keep as much existing infrastructure and software as possible for as long as possible.
Follow this link for more details
Cann Consultancyâ€™s first newsletter is now available to read on-line. Find out more about our case management consultancy services, and how we can help in the era of outcomes-focused regulation. Thereâ€™s some words of wisdom too for those firms thinking about moving some or all of their IT into the cloud, plus a few practical tips on managing the risks around clients. Continuing the theme of risk, we have a handy little checklist to help you gauge performance against best practice principles. And last but not least, thereâ€™s news of a valuable free consultancy offer.
The iCann index on risk is a simple â€˜ready reckonerâ€™ â€“ a 20 question checklist based around
the fundamentals of best practice. . Ideally, you should be able to
consistently answer â€˜yesâ€™ to all 20 questions. The odd â€˜noâ€™ is permissible as long as you can
rationalise why, but any more than 6-8 negatives and you should be considering early action
to tackle the areas of non-compliance.
iCann risk index link