Legal Service Complaints

Legal Service Complaints

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Virtual In-House Complaints Manager

At 43Legal we know how important maintaining a good reputation is, especially within legal services.  Often people are quick to vocalise when things go wrong, perhaps more so than when they go right!  Furthremore, we also know that legal service complaints can escalate quickly, especially if they are not dealt with proactively and efficiently, which can result in a legal service complaint being referred to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO).

Most importantly solicitors, RELs and RFLs are required pursuant to paragraph 8.5 of the SRA Code of Conduct to treat clients fairly and to deal with complaints promptly and free of charge. In addition, pursuant to Regulation 12 of the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (as amended) solicitors are required to deal with complaints quickly and to make every effort to deal with them satisfactorily.  Furthermore, the LeO is entitled to report any suspected delay or misconduct on the part of a solicitor to the SRA.  Therefore, it is important that legal service complaints are taken seriously and dealt with appropriately in accordance with a firm’s complaints procedure, otherwise it could lead to a report to the SRA.

Unfortunately, no matter how good you are things do go wrong, whether it’s the fall in service levels or negligent advice.  However, if dealt with appropriately a complaint may help promote your firm or even salvage the client relationship.  On the other hand, complaints can be used as an attempt to avoid payment.  Therefore, it is important to know how best to deal with legal service complaints when they arise.

Often when things do go wrong, there is not the time or resource available for someone to step in and resolve the issue, listen to the client, understand what has occurred and explore what avenues are available to rectify the issue.  Moreover, depending on the size of law firm, it may not be cost effective to incur the overhead of recruiting a permanent member of staff to undertake the role.  Alternatively, in larger firms it can sometimes be the case that capacity is not available to meet demand.

How can 43Legal help resolve complaints?

We can act as an independent third-party complaints’ handler, providing an independent and impartial view when dealing with a legal service complaint.  Most importantly, we are not part of your firm.  Therefore, we can help defuse the situation, whilst reducing the perception of bias.  For example when making a final determination in respect of a complaint.

Alternatively, we can also help you and your staff deal with legal service complaints effectively.  Most importantly by providing you with the tools to address legal service complaints efficiently, proactively and confidently.  

What is your Virtual In-House Complaints Manager Service?

Primarily we assist law firms to ‘deal with and manage things when they go wrong’, by providing fixed fee, monthly retainer packages as well as in-house training.  For example, our services may include the following: –

  • We act as an independent third party complaints handler.  For example when a compliant arises, it is referred to us and we liaise with the client to firstly identify the issues involved and what is required to address the issue.  Most importantly, with the view to resolving the complaint amicably where possible.
  • When a complaint arises involving breach of duty and/or negligence on the part of the firm, we liaise with the fee earners concerned, the client and if necessary, your professional indemnity insurer to then manage the complaint and claim through the process.
  • We work with you as the first port of call.  For example, if a potential negligence claim arises and it is necessary to notify your Professional Indemnity Insurers, we work with you and your Professional Indemnity Insurers to resolve the issue where possible. Most importantly, we safeguard the firms position with third parties.
  • We work with you to identify and process notifiable issues to the SRA if or when the need arises.
  • We can provide training to fee earners regarding how to deal with and manage legal service complaints effectively.  For example the language to use, how to diffuse the situation and resolve complaints as soon as possible when they arise.
  • We can also work with your firm to help identify problem areas, provide a series of best practice directives, whilst also reviewing and providing possible changes to your complaints policies and procedures.

Please contact us should you wish to discuss further how our virtual complaints manager services may help you and your firm.

 

 

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