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The Domino Effect

 The Domino Effect

 

In a previous article we highlighted the dangers of using "standard" or "template" precedent letters that are sold at legal training courses. You may recall that we explained they were probably fine when they were written originally, but dated very quickly due to the ever changing regulations of the profession.

This month, we'd like to tell you about the 'Domino Effect.'

So, what exactly is the 'Domino Effect'?

This is what happens during a matter if we don't get the first few steps right, in other words we make sure the client is given everything that the Law Society recommends in terms of information during the initial contact with them. It is absolutely key, because as with a row of dominos, if the first one topples, then the rest come crashing down, and so it is with the client relationship.

Let's take an example - For some reason the client decides to complain about an aspect of the service you have provided. You or your Complaints Manager disagrees, and the complaint escalates, either to the Legal Complaints Service, Office for Legal Complaints, the Legal Ombudsman or to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Suddenly, when maybe you could have argued the case with the client, you are exposed to external scrutiny. And during that scrutiny, something incorrect is found. It may not be with the advice given, it is likely something about the costs or the timescale, and when you check, you realise there might be something in what the client says, but this contradicts what you told them earlier when they raised the matter with you.

You may now look guilty of overcharging, or not acting in the clients' best interests. This will inevitably cost you money, and may result in further investigations into the firm, such as a Practice Standards Audit or even a Forensic Audit.

So the message is simple; at the very start of the case make sure that all the details are attended to, that you cross every 't' and dot every 'i' or you will end up paying for it later. Also, make sure that if you aren't dealing with the client at the early stages, whoever is has been trained properly to do so.

Or all your dominos could come crashing down...