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Self assessment audits

We have adopted the self assessment process that pioneered in New South Wales. We require legal practitioner director(s) to review their firm’s management systems and supervisory arrangements shortly after they give the Queensland Law Society notice of the firm’s intention to start engaging in legal practice as an incorporated legal practice.

We provide them with a pro forma self-assessment form which asks them to assess how effectively their management systems address ten key objectives of sound law firm management, viz.:

  • competent work practices to avoid negligence
  • effective, timely and courteous communication
  • timely delivery, review and follow up of legal services to avoid delay 
  • acceptable processes for liens and file transfers
  • shared understandings and appropriate documentation covering cost disclosure, billing practices and termination of retainer
  • timely identification and resolution of conflicts of interests
  • appropriate records management
  • well understood procedures for authorising and monitoring compliance with undertakings
  • effective supervision of the practice and its staff, and
  • compliance with trust account regulations and accounting procedures.

The self-assessment form (PDF, 149.5 KB) asks legal practitioner directors to rate their firms’ management systems against each of the ten objectives on a sliding scale of 1 to 5. Each objective is provided an overall rating. The form sets out some key concepts they should take into account in rating their systems and suggests some criteria they might take into account in rating their systems and approaches that might help them improve their systems should they be less than fully compliant.

We don’t expect legal practitioner directors necessarily to rate the systems their firm has in place when they first receive the self assessment form but the systems they have in place when they complete and return the form - we count the self assessment process a success if it causes them to make improvements. The purpose of the exercise is not to catch anyone out but to help law firms develop and maintain management systems and workplace cultures that nurture and sustain best practice.

Certainly we hope and expect that legal practitioner directors will approach the exercise not as an administrative burden but as a positive opportunity to review their firm’s systems and to take stock. We want them to engage with the exercise and to candidly identify any gaps or shortcomings that require or might benefit from improvement.

  • The changing face of lawyer regulation: a paper presented to the 47th Annual Vincents' QLS Symposium 2009, 28 March 2009
  • Research report: Assessing the impact of management-based regulation on NSW incorporated legal practices, 25 September 2008
  • Our performance - the Commission’s monthly performance reports and annual reports contain up to date statistical information about ILPs
  • Queensland Law Society
  • Last reviewed
    11 November 2013
    Last updated
    11 November 2013

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