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Frequently Asked Questions - Practice Management Review

  • Why did the Law Society implement the Practice Management Review component of the Program?
    Convocation approved the Practice Management Review component as an integral part of assuring the continuing competence of members. The Law Society expects the Program will be an excellent resource for lawyers in the formative years of private practice. It is designed to identify any practice management issues, which, if neglected, could have an adverse effect on the quality of legal services offered to the public. The Program may benefit lawyers in private practice by reducing client complaints and negligence claims.
  • What are the benefits for lawyers who have been selected for a Practice Management Review?
    • Selected lawyers will receive personalized, on-site guidance aimed at helping them to address and correct any practice deficiencies.
    • Reviewers will assist lawyers in creating efficiencies in their practice, which will lead to a better run and more effective practice.
    • Early in their career, lawyers will receive specific advice, tailored to their own practice, on setting and meeting best practices expectations.
  • When did the Practice Management Reviews begin?
    January 1, 2007 was the start date for the Practice Management Reviews.
  • Who is eligible to participate in the Practice Management Review Program?
    Lawyers one to eight years from the call to the Bar and in private practice are eligible to participate.
  • Does it affect all law firm sizes?
    Yes, any lawyer who has been called to the Bar within the past 8 years and is in private practice is eligible to participate, regardless of the firm size.
  • What are the possible outcomes of a Practice Management Review?
    Outcomes of a Practice Management Review could include the following: closing of the file, follow-up activities, undertaking to remedy deficiencies, follow-up review, Proposal Order, referral to Spot Audit, or referral to Professional Regulation.

    The Program is intended to be a proactive measure to assist lawyers in strengthening their practice management skills. In every instance, the goal is to work with the lawyer to address deficiencies before they become matters that could adversely affect service to clients. However, where misconduct is found, Reviewers, like all lawyers, are obliged under subrule 7.1-3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, to report that misconduct.
  • Will a Practice Management Review affect my standing with the Law Society Referral Service (LSRS)?
    If in the course of a Practice Management Review, you are found to have failed to meet minimum standards of competence, then you will not be permitted to become or remain a member of the LSRS until you have satisfied the Law Society that you are meeting minimum standards of professional competence.
  • How many Practice Management Reviews will be conducted?
    Approximately 600 lawyers are selected for a Practice Management Review annually.
  • Will all lawyers that have been called to the Bar for 1-8 years be reviewed?
    Only those in private practice will be included in the pool of potential candidates.
  • How will I know that I have been selected for a Practice Management Review?
    Participants will be contacted by the Reviewer and a date for the Practice Management Review will be determined in conjunction with the lawyer, usually within six weeks. Reviewer will provide the lawyer with a list of books and records, documents and other information to be available at the Practice Management Review. Pre-arranged appointments offer a number of advantages. They provide the lawyer with the opportunity to block dedicated time for the attendance and to allow the lawyer to begin a process of self-assessment and reflection on their current approaches to practice management. 

    While the advance notice is designed to accommodate your schedule, the Law Society must balance your needs and preferences with its public protection mandate. For this reason, if you seek to defer the Practice Management Review appointment, or subsequently cancel your Practice Management Review appointment, you may be required to fax or e-mail a copy of your most recent trust reconciliation (trust bank statement(s), detailed trust reconciliation(s) and client trust listing) to the Practice Review Department. Failure to do so may result in a referral to Professional Regulation.
  • How much will I have to pay if I am selected?
    There is no fee required from lawyers for a Practice Management Review.
  • How long will the Practice Management Review take?
    On average, a Practice Management Review will take a full day.
  • How much time will I have to implement any recommendations?
    Approximately six months. Depending on the matters identified by the Reviewer, a follow-up review might be required following the six-month period.
  • What if I am an associate or employee of a firm and the Reviewer identifies deficiencies in firm-wide systems?
    If the Reviewer has concerns about processes or procedures which are beyond the scope of your responsibility, then depending upon the nature of the concerns and the potential risk to clients, further action may be required to ensure that the firm's management has notice and takes remedial action.
  • What will the Reviewer be looking for?
    The Reviewer will be assessing basic practice management systems in the lawyer's office, focusing on such areas as:
    • Client Service and Communication
    • File Management
    • Financial Management
    • Technology
    • Professional Management
    • Time Management
  • Where can I find more information?
    For more information about the Program, please phone the Law Society's Resource Centre at 416-947-3315 or 1-800-668-7380 ext. 3315.
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