News Desk

Introducing the SRA Standards and Regulations

Two new Codes of Conduct

On 25 November 2019 the SRA Standards and Regulations will replace the SRA Handbook. There will be seven Principles instead of ten, and two codes of conduct, one for Individuals and one for Firms. They are much shorter than the current Code of Conduct. Whilst they adopt most of its key themes, they abandon its approach based on Outcomes and Indicative Behaviours. Instead the new codes focus on lawyers and firms using their professional judgement and justifying their actions.  “Nothing new there” you might think, “we can carry on as normal”. You would be wrong.

Big changes for every lawyer

There’s a significant change of emphasis because of a new duty to demonstrate compliance with your regulatory obligations. Just how are you going to do that for every tricky decision you make every day of the week?

Other changes include:

  • A new principle of honesty – how does it work alongside the principle of integrity?
  • A new duty not to waste the court’s time.
  • Reinforced duties for supervisors in relation to the work and competence of their teams.
  • Changes to the exceptions to the duty of disclosure to clients
  • Reporting obligations which may (or may not) be satisfied by notifying your COLP.
  • A new duty to take remedial action if a client suffers loss or harm when things go wrong – What kind of action will be appropriate?

A time limit for providing prescribed information to clients when a complaint has not been resolved to their satisfaction.

E-learning for busy lawyers

In October we will release our e-learning course on the new SRA Standards and Regulations, with an introduction and three short modules, one on the Principles and one on each new Code. They will focus on what you need to know, not on what you don’t.  You’ll learn enough to stay compliant, and know where to look when things get tricky.   Like all our e-learning this course is quick, relevant and engaging.

Contact

Get in touch if you’d like a sneak preview, a heads-up when we launch or if you want to discuss options for hosting the course on your own LMS.

Email: Kath@kinchrobinson.com
Phone: Kath on 0114 273 8300.

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Posted by News Desk
RTA liability training

RTA liability training

E-learning that really works

“Looks nice, but does it work?” She looks up from the iPad demo. Not the response I’m expecting. She asks again - “Looks nice, but does it work?” Good question. Here’s a good answer.

Scroll back two or three years – insurer and law firm clients are troubled by junior staff making incorrect and inconsistent liability decisions in RTA cases. Poor decisions are costing them money. They want some online training. So we get to work, and we make something great. See for yourself.

(If you’re reading off-line, we have 130 RTA animations (left and right turns, roundabouts, overtaking, car parks, and so on). You watch the accident on screen, you look at resources that might help (e.g. the Highway Code) and you make a liability decision. And then you watch an experienced barrister reviewing the evidence and the key issues, and giving a view of the likely outcome in court.

“Brilliant!” we thought. And to be fair, so did some clients. But not all of them. The non-believers wanted reassurance. Fair enough.  So we designed a “proof of concept trial” involving a test before training and a test afterwards. One of our clients took the idea and ran with it. This is what happened.

They selected 22 learners (of mixed levels of experience), explained the trial and demonstrated the scenarios. The learners then completed the first test in one week. It included 10 scenarios with the barrister’s review stripped out. For the next three months the learners worked through over 130 scenarios in separate sections covering carparks, roundabouts, country roads, etc. Then we stopped their access to the scenarios, and they took a second test on 10 different (but similar) scenarios.

We gave 10 points for an answer the same as the barrister and 5 points for an answer that was within 10% of the barrister’s view.

Here’s what we found.  The e-learning works!  Every learner improved and their decisions were more consistent. Here are some of the key points.

  1. They made more correct decisions (decisions on or within 20% of the barrister’s view). The smallest improvement was 5% and the largest improvement was 75%. The average improvement was 33.6%. See Table 1.
  2. They made fewer incorrect decisions (decisions more than 20% away from the barrister’s view). The smallest improvement was 5% and the largest improvement was 90%. The average improvement was 37.5%. See Table 2.
  3. Their decisions were more consistent (taken all together, their decisions were spread over a narrower range after the training). Wildly different decisions on the same evidence were much rarer.
  4. The tests helped to identify “tricky” decisions (those decisions, like roundabouts, which the learners found challenging). This will enable the client to focus further learning and resources on supporting staff to improve in specific areas.

June 2019

Contact: Jody Jezusek
E: jody@kinchrobinson.com
M: 07717 750042

 

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Posted by News Desk

Mental Health Awareness Week – 13 May 2019

The profession is not getting any less stressful any time soon.

Metal health and wellbeing of staff are crucial considerations for any employer and many firms are running initiatives this week to promote these important issues.

Encouraging mindfulness, meditation and yoga all have their place.

But at Kinch Robinson we focus on helping fee earners and support staff change their working practices to reduce stress and improve work life balance.

  • Our new Legal Project Management courses for trainees and qualified fee earners provide training in a critically important skill that helps fee earners deliver great results for clients and improves your firm’s profitability
  • Our ‘Regain Control’ sessions provide masses of practical suggestions to help you get on top of your work, from dealing with conflicting priorities to smooth and effective delegation
  • And if you want help with understanding law firm finances, improving your writing skills or increasing you reading speed we can help with that too

Call Kath Kinch on 0114 273 8300 for more information.

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Posted by News Desk

Social media for lawyers – e-learning

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Social media platforms are powerful tools for engaging with current and prospective clients. However many lawyers are nervous and confused about to how to use them effectively.

This introductory course into the two key social media platforms used by lawyers – Twitter & LinkedIn - will help you to engage more confidently and use them to enhance your personal reputation and that of your firm.

This course will take 30 - 45 minutes to complete.

Objectives

 As a result of completing this course you will:

  • understand the benefits of engaging in social media;
  • have the skills to engage with social media confidently;
  • take into account professional ethics when engaging with social media;
  • be able to differentiate between good and bad practice;
  • know how to compose an engaging tweet; and
  • know how to improve your LinkedIn profile.

Social media for lawyers course

Posted by News Desk in News

Billing – Remove the Pain and Make More Money. It’s not difficult!

The word “Billing” tends to strike dread in the hearts of lawyers who view it as a necessary evil.  Other professions view it as an opportunity to convey value and strengthen client relationships.  Sounds easy?  Well, actually it is if we adopt established Best Practices.  David Ellis, a former billing Partner at PwC for 10 years, shares some insights into successful and painless billing.

Firstly, let’s be frank about the comparisons with other professional services providers like the big 4.  Lawyers tend to write off 20% of time on the tab before raising the bill. They bill on average 3 months - and more - after the start of a matter (and frequently, only at the end of a matter). They  regularly have uncomfortable discussions with clients about the final bill and end up writing off further amounts.   The big 4 just don’t operate like that at all.

Why?  Largely because they have adopted well established Best Practices to their Billing Disciplines.

And while we are at it, let’s get rid of a one urban myth.  Yes, our work is uncertain – we don’t know exactly what will happen during a matter.  However that is no different from these firms.  Far more importantly, it is no different from our clients!

So what are these Best Practices that make Billing easier and improve collections?  Here are 5 unerring Must Do’s

1.       Tell the Client how and when you are going to Bill.  State it clearly in the Engagement - and then do it!!  This sets expectations, is professional and gets you on the front foot.

2.     Set a Budget for the job and manage to it.  Budgeting Pricing.  Set your colleagues a time / value budget and manage to it.  This is how our clients operate their projects and they expect us to do so too.  Yes, things change during a matter but we can also adjust our approach too (often in agreement with the client). So manage the client too.

3.       Bill Monthly. Review WIP and bill the client.  Again, this sets expectations, shows them we are operating professionally and alerts them (and us!) to and changes.  Not least it improves cashflow for the firm – and worth remembering at appraisal time!  Variations to this principle include stage payments, milestone billing and so on.  But don’t wait until the end!

4.       Talk to the Client about the Bill.   Yes, it sounds obvious but we generally shy away from it.  Ironically, it is invariably on the mind of the client.  Ideally a simple comment of “we are on time and on budget” is enough (and we should be if we have followed the above Best Practices J)

5.       Let your Finance department take the strain.  The lawyer’s role in the billing cycle is to review and make decisions.  It is Finance’s role to execute those decisions.  So let the finance professionals prepare, adjust, issue, and collect the bills.  They should also deal with first line queries and chasing of payment.  That is their skill after all!

Do all of this and you will have happier clients and an easier and more lucrative life.  Told you it was easy.

p.s. (There’s a sixth Best Practice too.  Bill Fixed Prices.  Don’t hourly bill.  No other professional service does it, clients don’t do it, it is grossly time consuming to review (pun intended), and focuses on inputs not outputs.  Time to join the 21st century)

Posted by News Desk in News