Who’s minding the shop?
And continuing my top ten tips to avoid claims…
Many of the biggest mistakes solicitors make share patterns: with the 20:20 vision offered by hindsight all could have been avoided. There are warning signs to look for and general rules that offer protection.
So, here is my third tip to avoiding professional negligence claims (and I hope you have read the last two please, if not, now is the time for that light reading…): Holidays and illnesses can lead to vital information falling through the gaps.
When an absence is planned, hand cases to a member of staff capable of pushing the matter forward and give them all the information they need.
Sometimes you can’t prepare for sudden illnesses, but up to date filing makes it much easier for colleagues to pick up where you left off:
- Make a simple checklist at the front of the file of what steps are being taken and what stage has been reached.
- Keep a note of what needs doing and when.
- Have regular file audits.
On the last point above, for those lawyers reading this blog, the issue is file reviews and whether it is compulsory for legal firms to conduct regular file reviews or audits? PI insurer Zurich said recently:
“File reviews. Love them or loathe them, they can be a very useful business tool to monitor the quality of work carried out in the name of your firm.”
Conducting regular reviews is one of the best methods a firm can adopt to show that it is complying with the rules and actively managing risk. As Zurich confirm, a well-thought-out file review system improves supervision, oversees the standard of services, supports the learning and development of both the reviewee and the reviewer and embeds a compliance culture throughout the firm.
And I would say that same would apply to other professional firms – audits are necessary if you want to find out where your practice is falling down when it comes to client care and work. In my view (and as advised by the Law Society) regular file audits “pinpoint problems which can sometimes be remedied before it is too late and prevent a negligence claim being made”.
From my experience of claims, I agree or to use legal jargon….”I concur”. ….
If you need any advice or help, contact Karim.
Just in case you missed the other tips: