Lexcel

Lexcel is the Law Society of England and Wales legal practice quality mark promoting a quality management approach for client service and practice management.

Accredited practices are able to demonstrate that they are committed to delivering high levels of client services in a consistent manner that meet their client’s expectations.

Introduction

The Lexcel Standard assesses seven business areas: structure and strategy, financial management, information management, people management, risk management, client care, file and case management, by using a flexible framework that specifies areas of improvement. This allows you to implement policies producers that are appropriate to how you operate.

As a risk management tool, it covers the main causes of claims against solicitors within the quality mark. In addition, it covers specific procedures for assessing and managing risk within your practice.

Who is the Lexcel accreditation for?

Lexcel is suitable for any legal practice, regardless of the size or type of work undertaken. this includes; private practices in England and Wales, international markets, non-profit organisations, and in-house teams.

Lexcel England and Wales v6.1 and Lexcel International v5.1 became mandatory from November 2018 when the Standard was revised to reflect the needs of the market. The two versions of Lexcel are as follows:

  1. Lexcel England and Wales version 6.1 of the Standard for legal practices and in-house departments in England and Wales.
  2. Lexcel International version 5.1 of the Standard for practices in England and Wales with independent offices overseas and practices in foreign jurisdictions.

Lexcel England and Wales is divided into two versions to meet the needs of legal practices and in-house legal departments. These entities are defined as:

  • A law practice in the form of partnerships, limited liability partnerships, sole practitioners, incorporated law firms and alternative business structures (ABSs) authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
  • An in-house legal department, including those in corporations, public sector (including ABSs), law centres, not-for-profit and government organisations.

Sole Practitioners
Lexcel is appropriate for all types and sizes of practices. It is particularly important for sole practitioners as they are perhaps under the most pressure to work harder, faster and smarter.

 

Business Benefits

Increase client satisfaction

  • Achieve consistent levels of client service across your practice or department/organisation leading to increased client retention.
  • Reduce the number of client complaints and increase overall satisfaction levels among clients.

Win more new business

  • Leverage Lexcel to attract new work and provide an advantage in tender processes.
  • Tailor Lexcel to your practice's or department's / organisation's processes to help provide a clear point of competitive differentiation.
  • Improved reputation and marketability.
  • Lexcel is accepted by the Legal Aid Agency.

Gain operational efficiencies

  • Increase profitability and efficiency through the use of standardised processes throughout the practice or department/organisation.
  • Access more competitive insurance premiums.

Minimise the risk of claims

  • Protect your brand and reputation by using standardised processes to reduce risks of claims or complaints that may lead to negligence claims.
  • Improve compliance with regulatory requirements.

Attract and retain the right staff

  • Effective recruitment selection and progression.
  • Ensure appropriate induction and ongoing training for all.
  • Promote Equality and diversity within your practice.

Improve Information management security

  • Protect yourselves against Cybercrime by having effective policies and procedures in place
Find out more:

Lexcel Accreditation Process

  1. Contact Centre for Assessment for a Quote.
  2. Return the signed quotation.
  3. An experienced assessor will be allocated by Centre for Assessment, who you will be able to speak to about whether you are ready or not for your assessment. Ensure you have 3 months evidence of your Lexcel system being in place.
  4. Book your assessment dates with your assessor.
  5. Complete & Return to The Law Society’s application form and pay their annual fee www.lawsociety.org.uk/lexcel. This must be submitted at least 6 weeks prior to your assessment date.
  6. The Law Society will review your application form and provide an authorisation to proceed. Once we have received this we will instruct your assessor to carry out your assessment.
  7. Complete a self-assessment checklist and send this to your assessor for review along with some documentation they will request from you.
  8. The assessor will complete some off-site work prior to the visit, reviewing documentation and providing you with an assessment plan for the onsite part of your assessment.
  9. The onsite assessment will consist of your assessor 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.
  10. At the end of the visit, the assessor will inform you of your findings and complete a report.
  11. Your report will be verified and sent to The Law Society with the assessment recommendation.
  12. Any corrective actions required will need to be submitted to your assessor within 21 days for minors and 3 months for majors.
  13. 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.
  14. Annual maintenance visits are required to maintain your certificate with a full visit every 3 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

Are you prepared for a Conveyancing Quality Standard (CQS) onsite audit if you are selected? Concerned if you don’t pass the CQS audit and how this will impact on your firm?

Lexcel can help you manage this and take the stress and risk out of being selected for a CQS audit. The core practice management standard that CQS firms will be audited against has been revised and is now more in line with Lexcel but more conveyancing specific in its terminology.

Having an annual Lexcel assessment will mean that you are more prepared for a CQS audit as you will have had regular visits from a Lexcel assessor checking that your policies and procedures are in place and effective.

Centre for Assessment have been selected by The Law Society as the only independent assessment body for CQS audits and have 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 Conveyancing background, please let us know and we can facilitate this for you.

Legal Aid contracts - Lexcel or SQM?

Lexcel is accepted as a quality standard by the Legal Aid Agency, instead of obtaining the Specialist Quality Mark (SQM).

Legal aid practices are choosing to move away from SQM and are opting for Lexcel instead. Firms are recognising the benefits of having an annual assessment rather than and assessment every 3 years as is the case with SQM. Those practices with Lexcel don’t have to panic at the tender stage as they already have a quality standard in place.

Working in a highly regulated sector can prove very difficult to keep your policies and procedures up to date. Having annual assessments with an experienced Lexcel assessor can help highlight areas where you need to make changes allowing you to do this in a controlled manner with limiting the risk and impact on your practice.

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