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What is the managing partner’s role in avoiding professional liability claims?
The vast majority of professional liability claims arise from the missing of deadlines and similar issues and not, as may be expected, from getting the law wrong. Therefore, it is part of the managing partner’s role to ensure that the firm has in place systems and procedures that will help avoid these problems. Quality assurance schemes or systems to ensure that important deadlines and tasks are itemised in various diaries must be put in place. Managing partners should be engaged in considering, introducing and managing various schemes, like Lexcel, which provide a good framework for firm management and risk control.
Another important aspect of avoiding claims is ensuring that proper risk assessments are undertaken regarding the firm’s clients. The firm may want to restrict its involvement in some work which is high risk and it is the managing partner’s task to manage and monitor this. This issue can be managed, for example, by ensuring that a new file cannot be opened without the approval of various people, perhaps including the managing partner, so that new work is flagged up. Firms can get into difficulties when people work outside their core area of expertise and practice.
What are the appropriate responsibilities of a managing partner in a small, mid-sized and large law firm?
The managing partner of a firm – irrespective of its size – should ensure that there are proper systems in place in all of the different functions of its business – whether it be business development, financial management, IT or HR – to guarantee that they are as well managed as possible. In smaller firms, the burden of ensuring that these systems are in place and monitored on a regular basis, will fall personally on the managing partner. In larger firms, the managing partner will have to ensure that they have pro
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