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Practice Management

This treasure trove of guidance, practical tips and valuable insights, provides everything a lawyer needs to organise and run an efficient, profitable and enjoyable legal practice.


The detailed Commentary contains a wealth of knowledge on most aspects of legal practice, including:



  • ethics;

  • the solicitor/client relationship;

  • the employer/employee relationship;

  • matter management tools;

  • risk management issues;

  • client communications;

  • costs disclosure and billing;

  • employment including recruitment, training and retention; and

  • financial management.


This publication can help firms make money – and reduce the stress levels of all team members.


The practice management guide is an excellent starting point for those interested in creating a strategic business plan for a new or existing law firm.


Also included is our comprehensive Legal Practice Health Check Tool, which allows a firm to readily assess its current performance and set goals for future development.


The related Reference Manual 101 Policies and Procedures contains most of the policies and procedures a small law firm will need. Adopt these policies completely or use them as a framework to establish your own.


Subscribe to this amazing resource today and take control of your legal practice’s future!



MATTER PLAN
  • “ Contents Overview3 ”
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  • “ A comprehensive manual on the essentials of operating a successful small law firm. Contents ”
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      • “ REFERENCE SERIES ”
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      • “ These policies and procedures cover most of the key issues which arise in the operation of a small law firm. They can be relied upon in their entirety for a start-up firm, employed as a basic template upon which any firm can build as it develops, or used as a check list to review an established ... ”
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      • “ The firm’s procedure for achiving electronic files after the matter is completed and the file closed is: The firm’s procedure for achiving paper files after the matter is completed and the file closed is: ”
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      • “ An asset register for the firm allows for the tracking of fixed assets and provides an estimate of their worth. It assists with taxation, insurance and potential sale-of-business compliance and provides an appropriate place to record detailed information such as serial numbers. An asset register is ... ”
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      • “ Philosophy The firm strives to deliver the highest level of service and value to its clients. This means that team members are expected to be well mannered, engaged and responsive. This applies to all client communications – whether in person, by email and correspondence, or on the phone. ”
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      • “ With LEAP: Open the matter in LEAP. ”
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      • “ Our firm abides by a code of conduct that is displayed on our website and which aligns with professional standards and our own vision, mission and values statement. At all times our firm will: Serve our clients faithfully. ”
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      • “ When a new file is opened, it is imperative to perform a check to verify if the firm has acted for any other party to the transaction at some other time. The Retainer Instructions require confirmation that the check has been made. If a conflict exists, the firm cannot act on the matter without the ... ”
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      • “ Disclosure ”
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      • “ The firm has a zero tolerance policy in relation to discriminatory behavior, harassment – including sexual harassment – and bullying. We believe all employees should work in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and bullying and we are committed to preventing these acts from occurring ... ”
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      • “ Solicitors and conveyancers are professional people conducting a professional business, usually within an office environment and a larger professional community. Lawyers attending court must always be dressed in accordance with accepted courtroom standards. ”
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      • “ Follow the client’s lead The firm is committed to communicating with clients in a courteous, efficient and professional manner at all times. Email is an essential tool of this communication. When to use and when not to use email when communicating with a client depends on the client. Even if a ... ”
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      • “ Overview The firm considers its people as essential to its success and will use its best endeavors to attract team members who understand and promote its vision, mission and values. ”
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      • “ Taking instructions Always use the By Lawyers Retainer Instructions provided in every matter plan. They not only assist in asking all the questions necessary to conduct that matter, but they also record the scope of the retainer, i.e. what the firm is instructed to do and not do. This is an ... ”
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      • “ Staff member Take regular breaks: don't sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. ”
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      • “ File colour coding helps enormously in managing files. Instant recognition. Rather than going through a bundle of files looking for say an estate file it is so much easier to simply look for the purple folders. ”
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      • “ Internal While all team members should help each other out on their respective files whenever necessary and possible, files may not be transferred from one fee earner to another without permission from [insert appropriate person in the office] or the principal(s). ”
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      • “ In the office All emails and correspondence related to a matter are to be saved to the matter and, if required, the hard copy filed in chronological order on the physical file as soon as practicable. ”
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      • “ Incoming mail and documents [Insert name of appropriate person in office] will open all mail addressed to any member of the firm. They will date stamp and sort the mail, then hand all mail to the relevant team member for appropriate action. ”
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      • “ An essential aspect of the efficient conduct of the firm are regular and structured meetings. Full team meetings wil be held monthly at [time]. ”
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      • “ The firm keeps records of all new client enquiries, where the enquirer spoke to a solicitor. Records are kept whether the enquiry is received by telephone, by email or other electronic means, or in person. Notes should be made by the solicitor. Copies of these records are kept in [TBA] file. Use ... ”
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      • “ Security Procedures Security problems and violations cannot be addressed in a constructive and preventative manner unless management knows or is advised about them. We believe security is the responsibility of all employees. Our policy therefore puts great emphasis on reporting of incidents as they ... ”
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      • “ [Insert name of appropriate person in the office] is responsible for petty cash. Petty cash is to be used for: [e.g. coffee for clients] ”
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      • “ Compliance with the Privacy Act The firm adheres to the National Privacy Principles set out in the Privacy Act 1988 together with associated high standards, which we have incorporated into our daily practices. ”
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      • “ The LEAP system has a comprehensive records management system which must be kept carefully and accurately at all times. All document movements must be recorded in accordance with the system. ”
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      • “ The following actions and procedures must be followed at all times. Perfect the retainer ”
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      • “ There are occasions where documents such as wills, certificates of titles, powers of attorney and leases, need to be kept in safe custody for clients. A fire rated filing cabinet or safe is used for this purpose. Document Register ”
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      • “ This must be read and understood by all staff. It makes it quite clear what conduct is unacceptable in the workplace. The lessons are clear and behaviour that offends the principles discussed will likely result in dismissal. Sexual harassment is prohibited in Australia by the Federal Sex ... ”
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      • “ The very worst problem in an office, and perhaps one of the most common, is running out of stationery items. This can easily be overcome. Someone must be appointed stationery officer. ”
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      • “ Of the Practice The principal(s) has ultimate responsibility for the firm and supervises every aspect of the firm’s operations. ”
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      • “ Telephones Answering the phone ”
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      • “ The proper termination of a retainer is most important. Often files will become inactive for one reason or another. These files must not be left to languish. The risk is that whist languishing an event might occur that is ignored as there has been no contact with the client for many months and it ... ”
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      • “ See also Employment, above. Continuing legal education (CLE/CPD) ”
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      • “ The firm has a reimbursement policy for travel expenses. If any team member is required to travel in connection with a client file, the travel should be undertaken in the most reasonably efficient and comfortable manner available. Travel should be approved by the client and [insert appropriate ... ”
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      • “ The firm probably uses the accounting functions within LEAP which complies with the relevant legal requirements. All accounting records particularly trust accounting records must be accurate, up to date and regularly monitored. ”
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      • “ An undertaking is a formal promise which binds the firm under the principle of ostensible authority and must be respected. No undertakings are to be given without the approval of the principal. ”
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      • “ The safety, health and well-being of our entire team is of the utmost importance and all team members should regard these as their highest priorities. Everyone has a responsibility for the prevention of accidents and health risks in the work environment. All employees are expected to take care of ... ”
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      • “ Contents ”
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      • “ FEDERAL Business & Franchise ”
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      • “ General companies4 Partnerships5 ”
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      • “ Property6 Leases7 ”
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      • “ Criminal Offences11 Traffic Offences11 ”
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      • “ Proceedings for defamation in NSW – Civil Trials Bench Book – Judicial Commission NSW Defamation Act 2013 (UK) ”
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      • “ FEDERAL Fair Work Commission ”
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      • “ Probate and Letters of Administration15 Family Provision Claims17 ”
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      • “ General18 Children18 ”
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      • “ Code of Conduct – Schedule 2 of Migration Agents Regulations 1998 Department of Home Affairs ”
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      • “ General21 Bankruptcy of Individuals21 ”
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      • “ Courts in general22 Local/Magistrates Court22 ”
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      • “ NSW Land and Environment Court ”
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      • “ Motor Vehicle Accident28 Personal Injury29 ”
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      • “ Costs Costs guidebook – The Law Society of New South Wales ”
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      • “ NSW NSW Online Registry – Lawlink NSW ”
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      • “ IP Australia IP Australia – Australia Government ”
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      • “ Wills34 Power of Attorney & Enduring Guardianship36 ”
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  • “ The fact that 3 of the 10 hours of continuing professional development required annually, must be on subjects that are unrelated to the law, points to the perceived need by the profession for management training. This is largely due to the fact that the majority of negligence claims flow ... ”
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    • “ The ethical obligations of lawyers are based on the obligations assumed by all members of a civilised society and extended because of the special relationship that the lawyer has with society as a member of the profession which establishes and administers society’s laws. An obligation to practice ... ”
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    • “ The lawyer’s ethical duties can be divided into three categories: duty to the court; ”
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    • “ The existence of an ethical issue will often be self-evident. The vast majority of lawyers will feel a sense of unease when an ethical issue arises, even if in the early stages of development of that problem they cannot identify the exact nature of the problem. Experience tells that the best way to ... ”
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    • “ An actual conflict of interest between solicitor and client is in breach of the solicitor’s duty to the client. Such a conflict may arise directly, where the personal interests of the solicitor conflict with the interests of the client, or indirectly, where the interests of another of the ... ”
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    • “ The solicitor is authorised by the relationship to act on behalf of the client. By this, the solicitor becomes the agent of the client but, owing to the fiduciary nature of the relationship, must exercise that authority strictly in the interests of the client. As regards third parties, the ... ”
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    • “ The fundamental rules relating to costs are set out in Part 4.3 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) and Part 6 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014. The seventh habit of highly successful small law firms is they confront the challenges of getting paid and solve them. ”
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    • “ Communications between solicitor and client are privileged if the communication was confidential and made for the dominant purpose of giving legal advice, or use in existing or anticipated legal proceedings. Privilege may exist under either common law or the Uniform Evidence Law. In most state ... ”
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$299 AUD + GST

per year - minimum 1 year subscription

Train Your Staff Affordably

Reduce Your Practice Risks

Access on Desktop,
Phone or Tablet