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Legal Services Excellence Standard

03 Sep 2021 / Law Society Print

Legal Services Excellence Standard

The Law Society will soon be launching a new Legal Services Excellence Standard. The new practice-management standard for members was first announced at the AGM in 2020.

The voluntary standard will be certified through the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) by means of an independent audit.

The Legal Services Excellence Standard is the result of six years of research, design and development by the Practice Management Standard Working Group. The next phase will be to implement the standard.

How to get certified

There are four requirements in the standard: business planning, development and continuity; infrastructure; operational systems (client care); and human resources, competence and know-9ledge management.

There is a specific set of criteria for each of the four requirements, and applicants must show evidence that they have met these criteria. Applicants can acquire all of the information relating to the certification process through the Legal Services Excellence Standard online portal, which is currently under development.

The auditing process is a combination of a review of documentation to ensure compliance with the four requirements of the standard, plus individual meetings with a cross-section of staff to ensure operational implementation compliance.

A maximum of 250 marks is available for each of the four requirements, giving a potential score of 1,000. A minimum score of 60% is needed for each of the four requirements in order to achieve certification. Full details of the process will be available in future communications.

Law Society Finuas Skillnet has received funding from Skillnet Ireland to design and develop new training and business supports to equip solicitors with the knowledge and skills to prepare their firms for the legal services excellence standard audit.

Brian McMullin, chair of the Legal Services Excellence Steering Group, said: “I am certain that the standard will, in time, enjoy recognition at home and abroad as representing the best practice to which Irish solicitors should aspire.

“While participation in the standard will be entirely voluntary, it is expected that it will provide a framework for law firms who wish to demonstrate the quality of the legal services they supply.

"Although many firms may already have core elements of the standard in place, working towards attaining the standard will provide an invaluable opportunity for firms to make practice-management improvements.

"The Law Society intends to provide additional training and educational resources to assist and support firms in achieving this goal. Our clients and the profession in general will be the ultimate beneficiaries.”

What’s in it for me?

The benefits of attaining the standard include increased operational efficiency, client satisfaction, increased employee engagement, succession planning, regulation compliance, and a positive impact on your bottom line.

Having attained a well-regarded professional standard also gives you a competitive advantage, as well as increasing your earning potential and establishing your professional creditability.

If you have any queries in relation to the Law Society Legal Services Excellence Standard, please email Deirdre Nugent at d.nugent@lawsociety.ie. If you have any queries in relation to the Law Society Finuas Skillnet, Legal Services Excellence Standard, CPD or business training supports, please email finuasskillnet@lawsociety.ie.@lawsociety.ie.

Read and print a PDF of this article here.

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Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland