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Practice Management

This treasure trove of guidance, practical tips and valuable insights, provides everything a lawyer needs to organise and run an efficient, profitable and enjoyable legal practice.


The detailed commentary contains a wealth of knowledge on most aspects of legal practice, including:



  • ethics;

  • the solicitor/client relationship;

  • the employer/employee relationship;

  • matter management tools;

  • risk management issues;

  • client communications;

  • costs disclosure and billing;

  • employment including recruitment, training and retention; and

  • financial management.


This publication can help firms make money – and reduce the stress levels of all team members.


The practice management guide is an excellent starting point for those interested in creating a strategic business plan for a new or existing law firm.


Also included is our comprehensive Legal Practice Health Check Tool, which allows a firm to readily assess its current performance and set goals for future development.


The related Reference Manual 101 Policies and Procedures contains most of the policies and procedures a small law firm will need. Adopt these policies completely or use them as a framework to establish your own.


Subscribe to this amazing resource today and take control of your legal practice’s future!


Recent updates can be viewed on Obiter - our News & Updates site.



MATTER PLAN
  • “ REFERENCE SERIES ”
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  • “ A policy and procedures manual is designed to provide effective and consistent communication to all members of staff. It reflects the intended practices that are consistent with the firm’s values. An important point to remember about policies is that without procedures, policies mean very little. ... ”
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  • “ Getting the detail of appointments is important. When a client calls to make an appointment always check the calendar to ensure the relevant person is available at the time required. If they are, then record the appointment in the calendar along with the name and contact details of the client and ... ”
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  • “ When a matter is complete: Check the file for any documents that need to be returned to the client; and ”
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  • “ Detail all items of an asset nature, purchased for the office in the asset register. These items would include computers, telephones, furniture and so on. The asset register allows the practice to better manage item replacements under warranty as well as depreciation and the like. ”
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  • “ Our firm strives to deliver the highest level of service and value to our clients. All staff are expected to be well mannered, engaged and responsive at all times and this applies particularly to communications, whether in person, by email, in writing, or over the phone. ”
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  • “ On completion of a matter use the File Closing Checklist, which is available on the Practice Management matter plan in The Practice section. Open the matter in LEAP. ”
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  • “ Our code of conduct represents the vision, mission and values statement of this firm, and aligns with our obligations under the professional standards. Our firm will: ”
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  • “ A client's affairs are at all times confidential. It is not permissible to release client information, even simple information such as the fact that the firm acts for a particular client, without authority from the client. To do so risks waiving client legal privilege. ”
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  • “ As all types of matters have the potential to raise a conflict of interest for the firm, it is important in every new matter to search for the parties in the firm’s database. Do this at the time of opening the file. Treat each client as an individual with care, attention and understanding. The ... ”
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  • “ It is recommended that Retainer Instructions be used during client interviews, both as a reminder of the matters to be considered as well as a record of the instructions given. They also remind us that a discussion around costs is to be had. ”
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  • “ Our staff work in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and bullying and we are committed to maintaining a safe workplace. Acts of discrimination or harassment on grounds of gender, race, sexual preference, pregnancy, disability, HIV status, religious beliefs or marital status are ... ”
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  • “ As with all things, appropriateness is the key. If going to a beach party, sarongs and boardies would be appropriate. In an office, staff need to dress in office appropriate attire. For men this usually means tailored trousers, a long-sleeved business shirt, tie, and clean dress shoes. A suit ... ”
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  • “ Email forwarding Auto-forwarding of emails is one of the most common ways that criminals can monitor a firm and act when the opportunity to steal funds or confidential information presents itself. ”
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  • “ We provide an equal employment opportunity workplace without discrimination against anyone on the basis of race, gender, religion, colour, disability or impairment. We are committed to: ”
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  • “ Matter types This firm accepts instructions in the following matter types: ”
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  • “ This firm uses file colour coding to assist with managing files: BUFF folders for sales; ”
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  • “ External If a client moves from one legal firm to another, they will often ask for their file to be transferred. The request can come from the client directly or be made through the new solicitor. ”
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  • “ At court Wherever possible use e-filing and online court services. ”
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  • “ Existing IP Team members must at all times protect, assert and respect the firm’s intellectual property rights, as appropriate. This includes any intellectual property rights of third-party suppliers or clients which the firm has either a contractual right to use or a contractual obligation to ... ”
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  • “ Incoming mail and documents Our receptionist will open and date stamp all of the mail. ”
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  • “ Free and open communication within the team is a key aspect of this firm. We use a ‘daily huddle’ with all staff members each morning as the mail is handed out. This is a terrific opportunity for the partners to see exactly what is going on and identify any areas that may need attention. ”
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  • “ Security is the responsibility of everyone and therefore our policy puts great emphasis on prevention. Prior to departure each day check to ensure all doors and windows are locked and the blinds are closed. ”
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  • “ Petty cash is the small amount of cash kept on hand and used to pay expenses too small to merit writing a cheque or using a credit card. Petty cash can be used for various office supplies, cards for customers, flowers, paying for a staff lunch, or reimbursing staff for minor expenses. ”
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  • “ Privacy policy Privacy Act ”
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  • “ Perfect the retainer When taking instructions, it is recommended that Retainer Instructions be used which serve both as a reminder of the matters to be considered and as a record of the instructions given. ”
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  • “ When requested, this firm holds for safe keeping client documents such as wills, certificates of titles, powers of attorney and so on. When the client requests the documents be returned, it is best they be handed personally to the client AFTER they have been appropriately identified. ”
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  • “ Our receptionist has been appointed as the stationery officer, and they will ensure we have sufficient stationery supplies. Special orders are to be emailed to them. ”
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  • “ The managing partner has the ultimate responsibility for the firm and supervises every aspect of the firm’s operations. All staff are required to acquaint themselves with the policies and procedures detailed in this manual, noting in particular the Engagement policy; and the Risk Management policy. ... ”
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  • “ The receptionist is responsible for answering calls, however, if they are overloaded or out, then anyone else can answer the phone. ‘[FIRM NAME]: [your name] speaking, how may I help you?’ ”
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  • “ When a matter is complete it is important to let the client know. This is best done by using the Letter to Client Finalising the Matter and enclosing the invoice. Files are not to be left to languish. The risk is that whilst languishing an event may occur that is ignored due to the lack of contact ... ”
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  • “ Lawyers are required to complete the requisite units of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) or Continuing Professional Development (CPD) each year in accordance with the statutory requirements. In-house seminars will be conducted by professional staff on an ad hoc basis with an emphasis on areas that ... ”
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  • “ Spend the firm’s money like you would spend your own. Spend money on things that provide value to the firm, and only what you would not have spent otherwise. ”
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  • “ Trust money belongs to the client. It does not belong to the firm. ”
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  • “ No undertakings, written or verbal, are to be given without the approval of the principal. The giving of an undertaking by a solicitor is a very serious matter and the failure to comply with an undertaking is a breach of the rules and may result in disciplinary proceedings. An undertaking given by ... ”
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  • “ The safety, health and well-being of our entire team is of the utmost importance. Everyone has a responsibility for the prevention of accidents and health risks in the work environment and all staff are expected to take care of themselves and each other. ”
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  • “ Flexible work arrangements such as working from home, are co-operative arrangements between a team member and the firm. They are entirely at the firm’s discretion and may be terminated on one week’s notice. However, where the requirement to work from home comes about through reasons outside of the ... ”
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Disclaimer

$299 AUD + GST

per year - minimum 1 year subscription

Train Your Staff Affordably

Reduce Your Practice Risks

Access on Desktop,
Phone or Tablet