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.
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.
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
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.
There are several key benefits of the Lexcel accreditation, including:
✔ Boosting client satisfaction
✔ Attracting and retaining staff
✔ Attracting new business
✔ Driving operational efficiency
✔ Reducing risk
✔ Improving Information security
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.’
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.
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.
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.