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Three practice management strategies to reduce risk

Three practice management strategies to reduce risk

By LIV Professional Development

Continuing Legal Education Practice Management 

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Practice management failures are the underlying cause of many professional indemnity claims. Though professional negligence matters are traditionally complex, there are some simple practice management strategies you can use to minimise risk. Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee chief risk manager Heather Hibberd and Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee risk manager Stephen Bubb have identified some of the common underlying causes of negligence claims and the practice management strategies you can use to reduce risk in your firm.

Improve staff management and engagement

Not every minute of your working life should be allocated to billable work for clients. Part of being a professional involves investing in your own skills and knowledge to provide quality service to your clients. Different roles require different levels of management. Whether you are in a managerial position or not, it is important to remain disciplined and allocate an appropriate amount of time each week to professional management and engagement. Doing this at the beginning will save you time and money rectifying problems in the future.

Narrow your practice area focus

The best way to avoid making legal errors and to provide efficient, high quality work is to define and narrow your area of practice. Write down in detail the work you will do and do not be tempted to accept work outside that scope. Saying no to work can be difficult, especially if the work is offered by an existing or previous client, but it is essential. You need to understand the law in the areas in which you accept instructions. Unfortunately, close enough is not good enough. Limit your areas and focus your study to fully understand the law in your area of practice. This will result in the best result for your clients and reduce the chance of risk.

Systems, process and records

Poorly enforced practice management systems are hazardous to any working environment. The reality of modern legal practice is that practitioners often contend with large volumes of work and tight time frames. It is high risk to think you can remember all the issues and steps required to manage multiple matters. Setting up structured practice management processes creates efficiency, helps you remember critical dates and draws your attention to outstanding issues. Maintaining these processes are key in preventing omissions and oversights that can result in future claims. Focus on making checklists, precedents, workflows and other processes to assist and support the production of quality work. Remember, a good system not only focuses on essential processes, it produces the records and a useable trail to evidence your work and prevent or defend problems.

 

For more information on reducing risk, read Stephen Bubb’s and Heather Hibberd’s full article ‘Minimise your risks’ in this month’s special practice management issue of the LIJ here

 

Want to find out more? Register now for the LIV’s Practice Management Course and equip yourself with knowledge of risk management, including developing your awareness of negligence and your ability to articulate the role of the professional indemnity insurer, formulating risk management assessments and audits, and more. Register here

 


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