Complaints Handling

Expert Complaints Management

Managing Client Complaints

Client complaints can be worrying and time consuming for you and your staff.

When you receive a complaint you have an obligation to respond, which makes this a business risk that has to be managed effectively. Clients now have the right to report complaints to the Legal Services Ombudsman (LeO) and they have a range of serious penalties that they can apply on the practice should you be found to have failed in your duty. There is also the potential impact on your PI insurance and the premiums.

It is important to ensure that you fully understand the nature of the complaint and follow a formal complaints management process.

However, too often we have come across practices willing to settle, even if there is no case to answer for. The view from the Partners is that the time and costs of dealing with the matter are too great. Plus there is always the concern that any formal complaint must be notified to the PI insurers.

It doesn’t have to be like this…

A well-managed outsourced complaints process will:

  • instil confidence in your client that their complaint will be taken seriously.
  • demonstrate to The Legal Ombudsman your commitment to improving the complaints process as they advocate involving, 'someone else to give a more objective viewpoint' (this is taken from LeO guidance for solicitors about complaint handling)
  • save cost and improving your reputation. (Reseach undertaken by LeO has shown 82% of clients choose a solicitor based on recommendation, so it is important you deliver the best service you can and go the extra mile to resolve any complaint made.
  • help with delivering improvements across a practice.

This is even more vital now because the LeO are proposing, as from February, case fees will be payable at the rate of £400 on every case, there will no longer be a waiver on the first two cases that are substantiated in each financial year.

Esterase Ltd can provide a specialist complaint handling services which is fully compliant with the SRA requirements. In comparison to the costs of a complaints handling partner or a fee earner having to set aside precious time to deal with the complaint effectively, this service can be provided at a fraction of the costs to your practice.

We provide our clients with an experienced complaints management professional leaving fee earners to continue with their work being assured the complaint will be dealt with effectively.

Barbara Spoor LLB, our complaints specialist, studied law and subsequently worked for The Law Society for over 9 years resolving complaints about solicitors made by their clients. She is naturally fully conversant with the code of conduct and was also specifically trained to deal with 'misconduct' issues by practices.

We can provide you with a complete management service including:

  • practical guidance on precedents and procedures.
  • hands on management of the complaints process on your behalf.
  • complaints analysis, including reporting on complaints received and recommendations for training or process improvements that may be required.

As providers of a complete Practice Management service we can also provide you with a broader perspective. By analysing the complaints process and complaints received we can help you to review longer term management strategies and to improve your risk profile both with the SRA and potential PI Insurers.

All at a fraction of the cost of this being managed by one of the Partners or one of your senior fee earning team…. and of course with a lot less stress!

For more information please contact us on:

Tel.: 08455 199 149

Esterase is a niche provider of commercial, management and executive level expertise to organisations in the legal sector. We work as part of your management team bringing a range of experience and business knowledge to strengthen your position in an ever tightening market.ESTERASE

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Tel: 08455 199 149

Esterase Limited Suite 159,
259 Chiswick High Road,
London, W4 4HH