This Div is a JS Trigger

Office systems / Procedures

Things to consider

- Develop office manual/operating procedures manual

- "KISS" method

  • Administrative policies & procedures
  • Job descriptions
  • Salaries and benefits
  • Workplace policies
  • Confidentiality policy (for staff)
  • Hiring policies (recruiting, interviewing, negotiating, etc.)
  • Orientation & Training policies
  • Payroll policies & System
  • Mail, fax and delivery handling systems
  • Phone message system
  • Complete computer backup system

Substantive legal systems

  • Checklists for all substantive law areas
  • Fee schedule for all substantive law areas

Docketing, calendaring, tickler system

  • Computer (dual programs are highly recommended eg Outlook & PCLaw)
  • Manual

File organization

  • Client Index/Database dystem (Alpha/numeric; Centralized/decentralized)
  • Opening file procedures
  • Conflict of Interest system
  • Closing file procedures / Retention / Storage / Destruction (visit LIANS’ File/Record Retention page)

Document maintenance (visit LIANS’ Technology page)

  • Offsite - safety deposit box
  • Computer backup
  • Cloud storage
  • Fireproof files

Forms used in practice (visit LIANS’ Sample Letters page)

  • Client interview / Intake form
  • Engagement / Non-engagement letters
  • Written fee agreements
  • Practice specific checklists
  • Billing statement form
  • General client correspondence, notices, etc.
  • Client survey form after conclusion of representation

Client billing procedures (review LOMC Standard #5: Retention and Billing)

  • Regular monthly statements even if no amount due
  • Detailed billing statement
  • Expense billing
  • Costs to be billed: Legal assistant time/paralegal time; Telephone expenses; Duplicating expenses; Computerized legal research; Mailing costs; etc.
  • Collection policy
  • Credit cards for payment

Client Relations Policy (for staff purposes)

  • Setting appointments, introducing staff
  • Returning phone calls, email messages
  • Client intake form/survey at conclusion of representation
  • Keeping clients informed (Send copies of work, documents, etc.)

Accounting Procedures

  • Trust accounting procedures
  • Bank account reconciliation
  • Cash flow statement
  • Accounts receivables / Payables (“Aging review report” list of unpaid invoices)
  • Expense approval System
  • Counter signature requirement on cheques        

Resources

Law Society of Upper Canada “Practice management: Guide to Opening Your Practice for Lawyers” and "Professional Management Practice Management Guideline"

Law Society of British Columbia “Model policies

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Code of Professional Conduct [section 3.2: Quality of Service; section 5.1: The Lawyer as Advocate; section 7.2: Responsibility to Lawyers and Others; section 6.3: Equality, Harassment and Discrimination]

Law Office Management Professional Standards, Lawyers' Insurance Association of Nova Scotia

Develop client acceptance and credit policies. Consider what clients/legal scenarios you will accept – and what you won’t. Do not fall victim to the need to take anything that comes through the door, with credit, competency, ethics, and satisfaction problems as a result. 

Communication

Law Society of British Columbia “Communications Toolkit

Law Society of British Columbia "Respectful Language Guideline"

Law Society of Upper Canada “Client Service and Communication Practice Management Guideline

Lawyers' Insurance Association of Nova Scotia "Client Service"

Lawyers' Insurance Association of Nova Scotia "Communication"

Lawyers' Insurance Association of Nova Scotia “Retainer Agreements and Engagement Letters

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Code of Professional Conduct [rule 2.1-1: Integrity; rule 3.2-2: Honesty and Candour; Chapter 5: Relationship to the Administration of
Justice; Chapter 7: Relationship to the Society and Other Lawyers; rule 7.2-11: Undertakings and Trust Conditions; rule 7.3-1: Maintaining Professional Integrity and Judgment]

LawPRO "Retainer Precedents"

Law Society of British Columbia "Communication Toolkit"

Law Society of Upper Canada "Client Service and Communication Practice Management Guidelines"

Law Society of British Columbia "Model Client Survey"

LawPRO "Post-matter client service survey precedent"

Conflict of Interest

Lawyers' Insurance Association of Nova Scotia "Conflict of Interest" and "Directors and Officers"

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Code of Professional Conduct [Chapter 3: Relationship to Client; section 3.4: Conflicts; section 5.2: Lawyer as Witness]

LIANS Family Law Standard #1: Conflict of Interest

Canadian Bar Association "Task Force on Conflicts of Interest Toolkit 2008"

The Law Society [UK] (March 2015) "Practice Notes: Conflict of Interests"

PracticePRO "Managing Conflict of Interest Situations"

Law Society of British Columbia "Model conflicts of interest checklist"

Law Society of Upper Canada "Conflicts of interest"

Law Society of Saskatchewan "Conflict of Interest – Lawyers’ Personal Interests"

LawPRO "Lawyers on boards"

LawPRO "Sitting on a non-profit board: A risk management checklist"

Fees and Disbursements

LIANS Law Office Management Standard #5: Retention and Billing

"Financial Management" Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Code of Professional Conduct [section 3.6: Fees and Disbursements]

Law Society of British Columbia "Fees, Disbursements and Interest"

Scott, Todd C. (November 2011) “Nine Rules for Billing Ethically and Getting Paid on Time

Law Society of Upper Canada "Litigation Cost Estimate Template"

Law Society of British Columbia “Fees, Disbursements and Interest: Benchers’ Bulletin"

Law Society of Manitoba "Appropriate Billing Practices"

LawPRO "Resolutions to avoid fee disputes (and to make more money)" [pg.20]

File Closure

The Law Society [UK] (June 2014) "Practice Notes: File Closure Management"

Law Society of British Columbia (June 2013) "Closed Files: Retention and disposition"

The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador "Concerning File Closure, Retention and Destruction"

Law Society of the Northwest Territories "Photocopying a client’s file"

Law Society of Manitoba "Transfer of Open Files to New Lawyer"

Law Society of Saskatchewan "File Transfer on Termination of Retainer" [webinar]

Records Management

LIANS Law Office Management Standard #1: Record Retention

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Code of Professional Conduct [section 3.5: Preservation of Client’s Property]

Lawyers' Insurance Association of Nova Scotia "Intake Procedures"

Lawyers' Insurance Association of Nova Scotia "Time Management / Missed Limitations"

Law Society of Upper Canada "File Management and Practice Management Guideline"

Relationship to Client

Guidelines for Practicing Ethically with New Information Technologies (Canadian Bar Association)
Practice Checklist Manual (Law Society of British Columbia)
Checklists by fields of practice [en francais] (Barreau du Québec)
Legal Research Checklist (Law Society of Saskatchewan)
Keeping Current (Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society)
Making Knowledge Management Work (CBA)
Limitation period charts (LawPro)
Time management / Missed limitations (Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia)
Missed Limitations and Deadlines: Beat the Clock (Law Society of British Columbia)
Saskatchewan Limitations Manual (Law Society of Saskatchewan)
Technology Practice Management Guidelines (Law Society of Upper Canada)
Guide des TI: Gestion et sécurité des Technologies de l'information pour l'avocat et son équipe (Barreau du Québec)
Accessible Customer Services (Law Society of Upper Canada)
Providing Legal Services to People with Disabilities (ARCH Disability Law Centre)

Undertakings

Law Society of Upper Canada "Undertakings and Trust Conditions"

Lawyers' Insurance Association of Nova Scotia "Undertakings" [General]

Lawyers' Insurance Association of Nova Scotia "Undertakings" [Real Estate]

Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, Code of Professional Conduct [rule 5.1-6: Undertakings]

QBE Europe Professional Indemnity Risk Management "Solicitors: A Guide to Undertakings"

Workplace training, supervision and wellness

LAWPRO (2009) "Supervision of employees: The buck stops with you"

The Law Society [UK] (October 2011) "Practice Notes: Supervision"

The Law Society of British Columbia “Promoting a Respectful Workplace: A
Guide for Developing Effective Policies

LIANS Family Law Standard #7: Unrepresented Party

LAWPRO magazine (Summer 2007) “Delegating responsibly and effectively

Nova Scotia Lawyers' Assistance Program