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Top risk management tips for solicitors

1.Issue engagement letters and follow the terms they contain.

2.Confirm all new instructions in writing and keep the clientabreast of the costs. Make it clear what you will advise on and what you won’t.

3.Record and follow up all advice in writing.

4.Keep clear notes of all key meetings and conversations. Itis remarkable how many claims turn on a missing attendance note.

5.Ensure your own diary system is kept up to date and have acentralised diary so that if an employee is absent their work will be pickedup. Missed deadlines are still the cause of many professional indemnity claims.

6.Advise clients of the risks if they fail to meet deadlines.

7.Keep up to date with trends and developments in your area ofexpertise.

8.Don’t advise on subjects you are not familiar with.

9.Don’t get too close to your clients as relationships quicklyfall apart if problems arise. Likewise, ensure you vet all new clients - if apotential client has changed solicitors frequently then there is usually areason for it.

10.Carry out regular file audits and peer reviews; this shouldbe done up to senior partner level.

11.Make sure that there are adequate financial controls inplace.

12.Have a clear procedure for dealing with conflicts ofinterest.

13.Have clearly defined IT and document management policies.Ask yourself: Do you have adequate security measures in place? Is there aninternet use policy? And are electronic files and memory sticks secured fromunauthorised access?

14.

Know your professional indemnity policy. Be aware of yourclaims reporting obligations under the policy and make sure all staff are awareof their duty to report potential claims and circumstances which may give riseto a claim.

15.

Make sure that the activities you carry out are covered byyour professional indemnity policy. If you are engaging in different areas ofbusiness or dealing with clients in foreign jurisdictions make sure that yourprofessional indemnity policy will respond if a claim is made against you.

Finally, it is worth emphasising how important good riskmanagement is. Dealing with a professional indemnity claim can be costly andtime consuming and most insurers will require you to be actively involved inthe process. If a claim goes to mediation or trial you could be looking at hundredsof working hours being lost and in this economic climate that is not anappealing prospect.

To find out more about how risk management can help yourbusiness please call 0117 929 3344 or emailenquiry.professions@bluefingroup.co.uk, alternatively arrange a meeting withone of our risk management specialists.

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