Having worked in a Lexcel-accredited medium-sized firm for 10 years before setting up my own niche operation adopting a similar approach, it is interesting to see how flexible the standard is. Even if you are not interested in obtaining the Law Society’s legal practice quality mark, guides like this are invaluable.

Too many law firms get into difficulties with people management. Such problems can be costly, bring bad publicity and hit staff morale. This toolkit says its intention is to give ideas and suggestions on how practices can adopt appropriate people management policies and procedures to improve effectiveness, as well as efficiency, of staff recruitment and retention.

The book is short but pithy. Its 11 chapters cover everything from people planning, through recruitment to exit interviews, to whistleblowing policy. This edition incorporates a health and safety section.

We learn that ‘agile working’ amounts to more than rushing from your desk to answer the door when everyone else is out at lunch. Agile working has benefits, but also downsides, which mean it is crucial to maintain communication, thus preventing the remote worker from feeling isolated.

Various authors including John Dewar, Jill Andrew, Alan Chapman, Vicky Ling, Matthew Moore

£49.95, Law Society Publishing

The appendices feature templates such as employment terms and conditions, performance reviews, induction policy checklists and sample exit interview questions. All of these documents, which can be adapted for own use, are provided on the book’s accompanying (free) CD-ROM. Adoption of this documentation supports, but does not guarantee, compliance with Lexcel and/or relevant regulatory requirements, it says.

Fully updated to Lexcel Version 6, this guide reflects changes resulting from policy and case law. It incorporates a new section on temporary workers. And it brings together essential information which is important for both employee development and the management of staff departures. With or without full Lexcel accreditation, it is a springboard to best practice in people management.

Tony Roe is a family law arbitrator and principal of Tony Roe Divorce & Family Law Solicitors, Theale, Reading. He is a member of the Law Society’s Family Section and Small Firms Division committees