Solicitors Office Procedures Manual

The Need for an Office Procedures Manual

Although it is not a requirement of the SRA that a firm has an office procedures manual, trying to manage a firm without having a means by which all staff can access information about how the firm operates, what its policies and procedures are and what must be done by individuals in order to implement those policies and procedures, is almost impossible.

Moreover, if the firms wishes to be accredited to Lexcel or the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), or achieve the Legal Aid Agency’s Specialist Quality Mark (SQM), then it will need to have written policies and procedures in place and, whilst not a requirement,  an office procedures manual is the obvious vehicle through which this can be undertaken.

However, a Solicitors Office Procedures Manual is only of real value if it is kept up to date, accessible to all relevant personnel and easy to access and understand. A manual that contains incorrect information or simply informs the shelf on which it sits is of benefit to no one.

The Infolegal Solicitors Office Procedures Manual may be the very solution your firm has been seeking.

Solicitors Office Procedures Manual

An Office Manual for All Firms

A key element of the Infolegal InfoHub is the Infolegal Solicitors Office Procedures Manual.

Available in three formats to meet the needs of:

  • “sole practitioners” – i.e. those who practise completely on their own without colleagues or associates;
  • “sole principals” – i.e. those who have at least one colleague/employee; and
  • “firms” – i.e. practices with 2 or more partners/directors.

the Manual is available to all Infolegal subscribers to download, adopt and amend as they require.

Since it was first published in 2012, the Infolegal Manual has helped many hundreds of law firms to develop or update their practice manuals and compliance documentation. It has also been widely used for the policies and processes required in applications to the SRA for authorisation as new practices.

More than just a one-off purchase, the Infolegal Office Procedures Manual is a complete office procedures manual updating package and it is kept up to date so that firms can amend their own manuals to ensure that they remain current and in line with changes in both the law and regulation.

The Manual is compliant with ISO 9001, Lexcel, the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) and also with the various legal aid requirements including the Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) and the Legal Aid Agency’s Standard Contract Terms 2017 (Crime) and 2018 (Civil). The InfoHub also shows where a particular section of the Manual corresponds with the various standards.

Key topics within the Manual include risk management, client care and complaints, anti-money laundering  and equality and diversity. It also covers SRA Accounts Rules, data and information management, financial crime, cyber and technology related issues, health and safety, office procedures and compliance with CQS.

Using the Manual

The Infolegal Office Procedures Manual can be used as a conventional hard copy document, made available to the firm through a shared drive, uploaded onto your firm’s intranet or can be uploaded to a shared section of the Infolegal InfoHub where selected personnel can access it along with other information about the firm (see “Sharing Firm Information“).

Contents of the Manual

The sole practitioner version of the Manual contains five sections plus a series of appendices containing the various documents and precedents referred to in the Manual.  Those sections are:

  • Section 1 – Introduction to the Firm
  • Section 2 – Policies and Standards
  • Section 3 – Case Management
  • Section 4 – Accounts
  • Section 5 – Office Facilities and Information Technology.

The version of the Manual for sole principals and firms, on the other hand, is made up of nine main parts:

  • Part 1 – Introduction to the Firm
  • Part 2 – Policies and Standards
  • Part 3 – AML and Financial Crime
  • Part 4 – Computer Use, Data Protection and Cybersecurity
  • Part 5 – Case and File Management
  • Part 6 – Finance and Accounts
  • Part 7 – Health and Safety and the Office Procedures
  • Part 8 – Staff Handbook
  • Part 9 – Legal Aid Supplement

supplemented by 36 appendices containing documents and precedents referred to in the Manual. These include a template business plan, complaints handling procedures, file review forms, data protection notices and Consumer Contract Regulations precedents, to name but a few.

In addition to the precedents to be found in the Manual the Infolegal InfoHub contains numerous standalone documents and precedents such as retainer letters, data protection precedents and cybersecurity policies which members can use to supplement their manual and which the firm can, if it chooses to do so, upload to the Firm Information section of the Infolegal InfoHub where selected personnel can access it along with other information about the firm.