Individual laywers can be held to account in the ways we have described elsewhere on the website for breaching or allegedly breaching the standards of conduct they are expected to uphold - that is how standards of conduct have traditionally been enforced. There have been no mechanisms however for holding law firms to account. That is changing.
The Legal Profession Act 2007 allows law firms to structure themselves as companies and to trade as incorporated legal practices (or ILPs) - and it introduces an additional and entirely new regulatory framework for holding them to account which puts the emphasis on their management systems and, in effect, their organisational cultures. The Act also allows law firms to structure themselves as multi disciplinary partnerships (or MDPs).
There is other legislation, too, that puts the spotlight on law firms more so than individual lawyers per se (although of course individual lawyers remain personally accountable for the decisons they make on behalf of their firms). This legislation includes the Queensland Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 which restricts how law firms can advertise personal injury services and, soon, the Commonwealth Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments Bill 2006.