The Law Society is considering expanding its Lexcel practice management standard scheme by creating separate quality marks for sectors such as private practice and in-house.
At present, there is one international Lexcel standard, awarded to solicitors who meet management and customer care standards following independent assessment.
However, the Society’s Lexcel manager Anika Patel told a Risk and Compliance Forum organised by insurance broker Lockton that Lexcel could do more to help firms reduce PII premiums and attract new business.
She said one of the key concerns she heard from the profession was that the scheme did not go far enough in making it clear how the Solicitors Code of Conduct and Lexcel function together. ‘Part of the problem is that we have one version of Lexcel that operates on an international basis,’ she said.
She said the Society had considered creating a separate version of Lexcel for domestic firms. ‘We’ve also looked at whether we should have a private practice version of Lexcel and an in-house version.’
Just over 1,500 firms are Lexcel-accredited. Over 1,300 of those are in private practice, with the remainder public sector and commercial in-house, international and organisations such as law centres.
Clive Borthwick, partner at Taylor Walton Solicitors, thought Lexcel was a useful means of introducing a systematic way of working into a firm, but said: ‘I’ve never heard an insurer say "Ah good, you’ve got Lexcel, that’s 15% off your premium".’
Patel said the Society was working on creating a standard with the relevant stakeholders involved, not just solicitors but also insurers and brokers, to make it more valuable.
Chancery Lane will be sending out surveys to Lexcel-accredited firms at the end of the month, seeking views on version 6 of the standard. Anyone interested in taking part should email firstname.lastname@example.org.