Happy Easter everyone!

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The 'super exam' just got a step closer

The Legal Services Board has just approved the SRA's application to amend its arrangements for authorisation. This is the first step towards introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

The SRA needs LSB approval for further rule changes before it can launch the new route to qualifying as a solicitor. It is likely that the SRA will apply for this in 2019.

The objective of the change is to reduce the cost of qualification and open up access to the profession. The SRA are proposing a two-part centrally set exam, rather than individual educational institutions setting their own exams.

To find out more about the proposed changes, take a look at these links:

Education and training: Testing time - Law Society Gazette

Legal Services Board News


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Kinch Robinson team up with Parklane Plowden Chambers for new EL/PL e-learning course

We're delighted to have teamed up with barristers from Parklane Plowden Chambers for our latest e-learning project. Following the success of our RTA liability e-learning course, we've developed a unique and exciting range of animations involving 'slip and trip' accidents.

Using online animated accident scenarios, our e-learning course trains staff on how to assess liability in EL/PL claims. It examines the law of negligence relating to this accident type; explores what evidence is needed to prove your case (and how to deal with conflicting evidence) and looks at relevant case law. Each accident scenario concludes with a barrister giving their view on the case and what the likely outcome would be if the case proceeded to a final hearing.

"With profitability in this sector constantly being squeezed, it’s essential for case handlers to have a firm grip on liability issues from the outset” says Director, Kath Kinch. “This new e-learning course helps organisations to grow the confidence of their staff, as well as their profits margins.”

Parklane Plowden’s Practice Director, Michael Stubbs, said, “Developing new ways of supporting our clients meant that it was an easy ‘yes’ to us getting involved in this project. We’re delighted with the result…with users getting a realistic take from our barristers (via video) on how each case should be handled from an evidential and practical perspective, plus a steer towards relevant case law and legislation.”

Promotional video

Training demo

ELPL learning image
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Communicating with clients about progress

Lawyers interested in getting things done, and done right, should read Atul Gawande’s “The Checklist Manifesto”. Borne out of his experience as a surgeon, and discussions with practitioners in the airline and construction sectors, he offers helpful ideas for any professional besieged by problems and complications in their work.

One of those ideas is the “submittal schedule” used during the redevelopment of the Russia Wharf in Boston. Where you’ve got different specialists working on the same building project, you want to make sure they communicate with each other. Putting it bluntly, if no-one talks, the building might fall down. So the submittal schedule helps to manage the process of circulating technical information and getting it approved. It’s not a checklist for work on the building, it’s a checklist for communications and reporting and it helps people to ensure that things get done at the right time and in the right sequence.

Let’s take that idea - a checklist for communications- and apply it to the client expecting a progress report on a legal matter.

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So the client wants to know what we’ve done so far, and more importantly what we’ve achieved. And the client wants to know if we are on track, and what’s coming next, and if we’re not on track, the client wants to know why not, and how we’ll get back on track.

All of which is fair enough. Hand-on-heart now, would a communications checklist help you to answer the client’s questions at an agreed time and in a comprehensive and accurate way? Would it help you to communicate better with your colleagues and update other project professionals?

But, yes, I know. You don’t like that word checklist, do you?

Let me put it another way.

Would a structured agenda help you to communicate, report and pre-empt the client’s and the project team’s questions comprehensively and accurately?

Of course it would. And it would help you:

  • to impress clients by being methodical;
  • to demonstrate control by spotting problems early; and
  • to be responsive by adjusting the project plan when instructions change.

We lawyers intuitively recognise the value of a good precedent. We know that the submittal schedule is a great example of a proven project management approach – if you don’t believe me, ask your construction clients. So why not borrow and adapt the idea and use a structured agenda to make ourselves look good with our clients? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

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Roadshow dates and locations for our briefings on Legal Project Management

What do clients really expect?

Free Briefing sessions

This briefing session is a must for all those grappling with the challenge of meeting client expectations and winning more work.

Discover what clients are doing with LPM, especially in the Financial Services Sector.

Hear about what they expect from you, their 'collaborative' suppliers, and what your peers are doing in the LPM space.

See how other professionals are using LPM Best Practices by:

* managing engagements efficiently, on time and to budget

* reducing write offs and improving profitability

* demonstrating the real value of their services

We are running several Legal Project Management Briefings throughout the UK over the coming weeks. To book a place, please contact Kath@KinchRobinson.com


LEEDS 27th July 2017, 8.00-9.30am @ Leeds University Business School

MANCHESTER 28th September 2017, 5.00-6.30pm @ Berwin Leighton Paisner

BRISTOL 4th October 2017, 12.30-2.00pm @ RPC

LONDON 12th October 2017, 5.00-6.30pm @ Berwin Leighton Paisner

BIRMINGHAM 2nd November 2017, 5.00-6.30pm @ Shakespeare Martineau


Related blogs on the topic of LPM

Better Engagement Letters by Peter Kinch

Don't just do a "job" well - meet your client's business needs by Matthew Peacock

Posted by News Desk in News

Better engagement letters

Matt Peacock’s blog “Don’t just do a “job” well – meet your client’s business objectives” is essential reading for lawyers working hard to impress their clients. Doing what we said we would do isn’t good enough, says Matt. We can do better if we understand how a client benefits from our work. And we can do better still if we make sure the client knows that business improved because of our work.

We can make an easy start by putting some life into our engagement letters. I suggested in “Engagement letters – watch your language” that CCLs are too long, too complex, and too difficult to read. And they’re too dull. Reading one feels like the oxygen just got sucked out of the room. So how can we revive them?

Make them shorter and simpler by breaking them up? Yes!
Bring a reader-friendly touch to the regulatory / compliance content? Yes!
Re-focus on things that make the client’s life easier. Please, yes!

Want a few examples? Here’s half a dozen:

1. Do what the Big 4 do - start with the client’s objectives rather than the scope of the work - So instead of just saying “we’ll draft a standard employment contract”, why not precede this with the client’s objectives e.g. “you wish to improve your HR management and preserve your brand and reputation as a high-quality employer”? Or “your goal is to recover your cash in full or at a discount agreed with you” could helpfully preface “acting in your dispute with…”

2. Provide an initial plan breaking the matter into phases, and each phase into a sequence of tasks - This will help you and the client to allocate responsibilities, identify the resources and effort required and agree timescales. You’ll be removing the client’s guesswork by answering the inevitable questions – What? When? How? Who?

3. Agree on a level of control - There’s all sorts of helpful things you can do here – specifying who can instruct, agreeing on reporting frequency, describing how changes will be handled / charged for, and so on.

4. Identify the deliverables - Describe what the client gets at the end; what’s the output going to be? It might be a document. Or it might be the removal of a threat to their business or the introduction of a new, better way of working. Describe how they will benefit!

5. Introduce the team properly - Make a habit of doing something more than simply providing names and titles. You’d do more than that at a party.

6. Talk about the money - Make sure you’ve had the conversation already and use the engagement letter to confirm the fees and to explain how the billing and payment arrangements will work. You’re helping the client if you do this, and reducing the chances of awkward conversations later on.

These are all easy wins for busy lawyers. They are all things that clients will welcome and remember you for. But we know that already, don’t we? Just look at the standards being set by the best professional service providers.

Want to know more about Legal Project Management?

For lawyers and project specialists interested in learning more about Legal Project Management Kinch Robinson and OMC Partners are running a series of briefings “LPM: what do clients really expect?”

Sessions are being held with the support of, and in the following locations:

Leeds - Leeds University Business School (27th July)

Manchester - Berwin Leighton Paisner (28th September)

Bristol - RPC (tba September) London – Berwin Leighton Paisner (12th October)

Birmingham – Shakespeare Martineau (tba October)

Places are limited but delegates can attend for free, but need to register via Kath@KinchRobinson.com

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