It is more important than ever that clients’ aims and objectives are listened to and met. That applies to every business and organisation and, at Gillhams, it’s in our DNA.
Because of this, we have been awarded the Law Society’s quality mark, Lexcel. It’s a best practice framework designed specifically for law firms and helps ensure that legal practices deliver excellent client care and a consistently high quality of service. Law firms with Lexcel accreditation have demonstrated their commitment to client care and are allowed to display the Lexcel logo on their letterhead and promotional literature.
Key features demonstrated by a Lexcel accredited law firm include:
- proper structures and policies in place
- documentation setting out the legal framework under which they operate
- a risk management strategy or framework
- one designated individual with responsibility for the quality system
- a documented procedure covering data protection and compliance issues
- a documented policy dealing with the health and safety of partners, staff and visitors to the practice
- a strategy for the provision of services and marketing so that the firm does not stray from our areas of expertise
- a developed and maintained marketing and business plan
- documented responsibility for financial management procedures
- written details of the office facilities needed to provide a service to clients, covering issues including security and health and safety
- a plan for the use of IT facilities and compliance with regulations and requirements
What Lexcel means for our clients
One of the key features of Lexcel accredited law practices is a focus on client care and customer service. At Gillhams, this pervades everything that we do. Here are some examples of our client care measures:
Terms of business
Clients are always given full, frank and intelligible written terms of business at the outset. These set out the basis on which we’ll work for them, the nature of their instructions, and the likely costs and timescales involved.
We always tell our clients who will handle their matter and give them the name of the person responsible for overall supervision of the case.
Click here to read an extract of our Terms of Business which focuses on our service levels.
We operate a written complaints handling procedure that is made readily available to clients. In the rare event that a complaint arises, we deal with it promptly and without shying away from the difficulty. All complaints are kept centrally by the practice for good management and resolution at the highest level.
Case and practice management
Another key aspect of the Lexcel accreditation is ensuring that we have adequate file and case management systems. Central to these processes is the uncompromising preservation of our clients' confidentiality. We also pride ourselves on high standards of dealing with all client matters including queries by telephone, correspondence and email.
Other aspects that are a requirement for our practice management accreditation include:
- checking for conflicts between clients, and declining instructions where the interests of one client would potentially conflict with an existing client
- ensuring compliance with the Solicitors' Conduct Rules
- keeping our clients informed of the progress of their files
- strict adherence to rigorous procedures when dealing with our clients' money
- orderly management and maintenance of files
- regular file reviews by solicitors not dealing with the matter, at no charge
Lexcel accreditation also focuses very much on people management - this is at the core of all the services we provide. We have a plan for the actual and likely recruitment needs throughout the firm and are proactive in providing training and in supporting development of all staff. New staff are taken through a full induction process covering the firm’s goals, management structure and their expected role in the practice.
Lexcel accreditation requires supervision and operational risk management. We have a written description of our management structure which designates the roles, responsibilities and accountability of individuals. There is a named supervisor for each area of work undertaken by the practice and that supervisor always has the appropriate experience of the work supervised and is competent to guide and assist others.
What Lexcel means to us
Lexcel accreditation is a reflection of our firm’s ethos. We have always believed that a great legal practice must consistently deliver high levels of service. Lexcel is formal recognition that our standards are among the best in the country.