Birketts embeds Lexcel in its organisational culture
Birketts are a full service law firm employing over 600 people across four offices in the east of England. The practice first became Lexcel approved in 2001 and has held the standard ever since. Sarah Ralph, risk and compliance director explains “Lexcel is something that’s become embedded in the culture of the firm.”
Lexcel is the Law Society’s practice management standard, which has been specifically designed to promote excellence. Accreditation provides a flexible management framework to help practices and in-house legal departments improve operations and manage risk effectively.
Importantly, it also covers most of the policies and procedures stipulated in the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) handbook and puts it in a format that is easier to understand. “It’s the kite mark for law firms,” says Sarah.
“It’s also the best way of showing the general public that you are meeting a quality standard,” she continues, “and it’s important for tenders too. Five years ago it wasn't on any tender requirements but now it's on all of them, so you’re cutting yourself out of the running for quite a lot if you don't have it. Lexcel gives you a competitive advantage.”
Among the other benefits reported by accredited practices are improved client care, leading to greater retention rates, more effective financial control, and greater security around managing client data and other information.
When it comes to re-assessments, Sarah describes the business as a ‘well-oiled machine,’ with regular compliance checks now carried out throughout the year.
“Lexcel makes you keep reviewing and amending all your policies and procedures and that helps to keep them alive,” she says.
Lexcel has also helped the company adopt a more consistent approach to file management, allowing staff to access the information they need regardless of where they are working. It has also ensured that the practice operates a rigorous time recording policy, which guarantees clients are billed correctly.
John Woddissee, Centre for Assessment Lexcel Assessor explains “The firm has undergone substantial and significant change since it was first accredited, including more than quadrupling in size, and opening new offices in both Norwich and Cambridge. It has also successfully integrated a large non-Lexcel accredited practice into the business, and Lexcel clearly contributed significantly to all of these. It’s also positively contributed to low levels of both complaints and claims and has enabled the firm to achieve excellent results in SRA audits.”
Find out more about Lexcel here.