Lexcel

The Law Society of England and Wales’ Lexcel accreditation is a sign of quality for the management of client services and practices.

Accredited practices can demonstrate their commitment to their clients and showcase the consistent quality of their services.

Introduction

There are seven key business areas that are assessed by the Lexcel standard:

·         Financial management

·         Structure and strategy

·         Information management

·         Client care

·         People management

·         Risk management

·         File and case management

 

By adhering to this framework, organisations can effectively implement policies to improve operations.

 

The key areas also cover the main causes for claims against solicitors, as well as covering the specific procedures for assessing and managing risk within your practice.

Who is Lexcel suitable for?

Legal practices of any size are suitable for the Lexcel standard, no matter the kind or size of work it undertakes. Private practices that operate in England, Wales or international markets and in-house teams in organisations or local authorities, as well as  not-for-profits, are all eligible to become accredited.

To cater for differences between organisations there are two versions of the accreditation:

·         Lexcel England and Wales version 6.1 is for legal practices and in-house departments in England and Wales. There are two versions depending on whether the organisation being assessed is:

·         A law practice consisting of a partnership or partnerships, sole practitioner, incorporated firm, limited liability partnership, or alternative business structure (ABSs) authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

·         A legal department which is operated in-house, including those within a corporation, law centre, government body, not-for-profit or public sector organisation (including ABSs).

·         Lexcel International version 5.1 is for practices in England and Wales that have independent offices overseas, or those with practices in foreign jurisdictions

 

How to apply for Lexcel?

First, contact us to discuss your assessment and get a quote. After signing and returning the quote form you will be able to book suitable dates for your assessment.

You will need to complete The Law Society’s application form and submit this to The Law Society along with its fee six weeks prior to your assessment dates. Once we have permission to proceed from The Law Society your assessment will be carried out.

Why Choose Centre for Assessment?

Centre for Assessment is highly experienced in providing assessment services within the legal sector and has held a licence to deliver Lexcel since the accreditation’s conception.

We have over 50 specialist assessors who have a wealth of combined experience across the legal sector. Many of these have previously worked as solicitors themselves, ensuring that we can add value to the assessment process.

We can also provide you with a Cyber Essentials assessment should you require it as part of your Lexcel compliance process, as well as a range of other certification offers that are relevant to the legal sector. These include ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 27001 (Information Security Management), ISO 22301 (Business Continuity Management), Customer Service Excellence, BS76000 (Valuing people) & BS76005 (Diversity & Inclusion).

Centre for Assessment is the only Lexcel assessment body that can offer these services directly to legal practices without using a third-party provider. This means that you can have all your certifications with one assessment centre.

Business Benefits

There are several key benefits of the Lexcel accreditation, including:

✔ Boosting client satisfaction

  • Reduce client complaints
  • Ensure consistent levels of service
  • Increase client retention

✔ Attracting and retaining staff

  • Boost recruitment selection and progression
  • Ensure ongoing training is in place
  • Promote equality and diversity

✔ Attracting new business

  • Improve marketability
  • Attract new clients
  • Accepted by the Legal Aid Agency

✔ Driving operational efficiency

  • Boost profitability
  • Access competitive insurance premiums

✔ Reducing risk

  • Protect your brand’s reputation
  • Improve regulatory compliance

✔ Improving Information security

  • Protect against cyber crime

What our customers say

Don’t take our word for it. Read some feedback from our satisfied Lexcel customers.

‘We found preparing for and being assessed for Lexcel meant we were on top of all the new regulations which affect our firm which was very reassuring.’

‘Lexcel has enabled our firm to create a strong foundation in compliance and legal practice management. The requirement means that we have a strong focus on client care, employment standards and reducing risk throughout the firm. The ongoing assessment means that our firm is always up to date with any regulatory changes meaning our standards never slip. Striving for accreditation keeps us at the forefront of our industry.’

‘With the ever increasing pressure on Law Firms to comply with legislation, having Lexcel is a must. It structures the way you deal with difficult matters on a day to day basis. Having systems and procedures in place and working to these standards has made a huge difference to our Company.’

‘Being Lexcel accredited brings an extra layer of risk management to a law firm. We have used Centre for Assessment since we first became accredited and continue to do so due to the ease of dealing with them and the professionalism of the assessor who really adds value in an advisory capacity.’

 

Luqmani Thompson & Partners Law Society Lexcel Case Study
Find out more:

What is the Assessment Process?

  • Contact us for a quote
  • Return the signed quotation
  • An experience assessor will be allocated by Centre for Assessment. You will be able to speak to them about whether you are ready for your assessment to take place. Please ensure you have three months evidence of your Lexcel system being in place.
  • Complete and return The Law Society’s application form and pay its annual fee. www.lawsociety.org.uk/lexcel This must be submitted at least six weeks prior to your assessment date.
  • The Law Society will review your application form and provide you with an authorisation to proceed. Once we have received this, we will instruct your assessor to carry out your assessment.
  • Complete a self-assessment check list and send this to your assessor for review along with any other documentation they request from you.
  • The assessor will complete work off-site prior to the visit, reviewing documentation and providing you with an assessment plan for the onsite part of your assessment.
  • Your assessor will conduct your onsite assessment by visiting all your offices, reviewing documentation and looking at files to check all the requirements of the standard are in place and you are following your own procedures. The assessor will ask questions throughout the day and interview staff.
  • At the end of the visit the assessor will inform you of your findings and complete a report.
  • Your report will then be verified before being sent to The Law Society with an assessment recommendation.
  • Any corrective actions required will need to be submitted to your assessor within 21 days for minors and three months for majors.
  • Once all corrective actions have been actioned appropriately and the assessor’s recommendation is that you meet the standard The Law Society will then make the decision to award you Lexcel.
  • Annual maintenance visits are required to maintain your certificate with a full visit every three years.

Support for clients

  • Our experienced administration team are available to help with any stages of your Lexcel assessment, from initial enquiries through to the issue of certificates.

  • A bespoke, personalised account management team help support all clients with their ongoing compliance against the Standard.

  • In-house training courses are available to help clients understand any changes or updates to the Lexcel Standard.

  • Recognised consultants are available through our online, interactive map.

  • Pre-Assessments, self-assessments and gap analysis options are available to you.

Transferring from SQM

Lexcel is now recognised by the LSC as an alternative standard to SQM (Specialist Quality mark). Firms now have the choice to be assessed against Lexcel or SQM as part of their contract requirement. If you wish to transfer from SQM to Lexcel we can arrange this for you.

Conveyancing firms and CQS

Lexcel can help you manage a Conveyancing Quality Standard (CQS) onsite audit, since the core practice management standard that CQS firms are audited against is now more in line with Lexcel.
Having an annual Lexcel assessment will mean that you are more prepared for a CQS audit since you will have regular visits from a Lexcel assessor checking that your policies and procedures are in place and effective.
Centre for Assessment has been selected by The Law Society as the only independent assessment body for CQS audits and has several Lexcel assessors with a conveyancing background and experience of auditing CQS.
If you would like to become accredited against Lexcel and have an assessor with a conveyancing background, please let us know so we can facilitate this for you.

Legal Aid contracts - Lexcel or SQM?

Many legal aid practices are choosing to move away from the Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) which takes place every three years, and are opting for the annual Lexcel accreditation instead.
Working in a highly regulated sector is challenging, especially when it comes to keeping policies and procedures up to date. Having annual assessments with an experienced Lexcel assessor can help highlight areas where you need to make changes, limiting the risk and impact on your practice in the process.

Case Studies
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