Building a file audit or file review process
Building a file audit or file review process

The following Practice Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Building a file audit or file review process
  • What should a file audit/file review form include?
  • Who should review files?
  • Frequency
  • The process
  • Findings
  • Implementing your process

This Practice Note explains how to develop and embed a successful file audit/file review process in your firm. See Practice Note: File audits or file reviews—the basics for further information on why you should have a file audit/review system.

The SRA does not give any guidance on how to conduct file audits/reviews but the Lexcel standard says that the procedure must be independent, involve a review of either the management of the file or its substantive legal content, or both, and include:

  1. defining file selection criteria

  2. defining the number and frequency of reviews

  3. retaining a record of the file review on the matter file and centrally

  4. ensuring any corrective action which is identified in a file review is acted upon within 28 days and verified by the reviewer

  5. ensuring that the designated supervisor reviews and monitors the data generated by file reviews

  6. conducting a review at least annually of the data generated by file reviews

What should a file audit/file review form include?

A file audit/file review form should include prompts to assess whether the fee earner is complying with relevant regulatory requirements , eg:

  1. are terms of business being sent out consistently with engagement letters?

  2. are clients being told at the outset all the important cost information?

  3. are complaints handled properly?

  4. is client due diligence (CDD) information being obtained?

  5. are information barriers and secrecy agreements being

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