2016/17 Annual Report

23 October, 2017
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From the Chair

It is now 39 years since compulsory insurance was introduced in Victoria for solicitor practitioners and LPLC has been insurer to those practitioners for 31 of those years.

LPLC remains the only statutory insurer for legal practitioners not only in Australia, but also the common law world.

It has certainly achieved what it set out to do, which was to create a mutual fund to deliver premium stability. The profession shares investment earnings of the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Fund, which are applied to in keeping premiums as low as possible. LPLC collects less in premium than the cost of claims, administration and reinsurance on account of its investment earnings. We are able to take a long-term view in relation to both our earnings and claims liabilities to deliver stable premiums amid short-term changes to the cost of claims and investment earnings.

LPLC has expanded its role beyond the management and payment of claims through its risk management activities, which were further extended during the reporting year.

I am mindful that there are now many practitioners within the profession, ranging from sole practitioner solicitors to large firms with global names, and from reader barristers to senior barristers of many years standing. LPLC’s challenge is to meet the risk management needs of these sectors within the profession.

In recent years, the way in which lawyers practise has altered dramatically, with advances in digital technology. That technology has also enabled LPLC to improve its delivery of services in renewal and payment of premiums, in claims management and delivery of risk management services. Fast and effective digital communication is of particular value when urgent risk management bulletins are required, particularly in relation to cybercrime.

I thank my fellow committee members for their work. I also thank our CEO, Miranda Milne who is retiring this year.

After 31 years at LPLC and as the CEO for the last 21 of those years, Miranda has seen significant changes in the profession as well as in LPLC.

Under her guidance LPLC has grown from insuring approximately 6,000 practitioners with a fund of $5.9 million in 1986 to now insuring over 2,000 barristers and 16,000 solicitor practitioners with a fund of approximately $220 million. Over that time, LPLC has paid nearly $500 million in claims and costs as well as managed over 14,000 claims and notifications in respect of solicitors and barristers.

On behalf of the former chairs, current and past committee members as well as LPLC staff over the past three decades I thank Miranda for her commitment and dedication to the profession.

I wish Miranda well in the next phase in her life and understand her plans are to devote more time to extra curricula pursuits with a heavy emphasis on winter sports while still staying in touch with the profession.

John Corcoran AM
Chair

From the CEO

LPLC continued its partnership with the legal profession during the reporting period with efficient claims management and an expanded risk management program targeted at reaching different practice sizes and types in varied locations.

Highlights of the reporting year were:

  • significant reductions in the cost of claims from prior years of more than $13 million
  • return on investment of 8.7 per cent ($19.2 million)
  • a modest premium increase for solicitors of 2.2 per cent tracking long-term increases in the cost of claims
  • stable premium rates for barristers
  • practice visits and counselling for those with poor claims records
  • a record number of practitioners attending LPLC risk management events with an increase of 54 per cent from the 2015/16 year
  • finalisation of 396 claims and notifications for solicitors and barristers.

The estimated cost of claims for solicitors for the 2016/17 year is higher than expected at $39 million because of an unusal exposure to conveyancing matters, but the increase in the number of claims is modest at four per cent. This increase reflects, in part, the growth in the size in the pool over the reporting period.  The estimated cost of barristers’ claims was $1.78 million.

LPLC has expanded its risk management reach this year, with visits to practices with poor claims records and follow up counselling for those practices.

In addition, solicitor practitioners taking out principal practising certificates for the first time were invited to LPLC’s offices for a Building Solid Foundations workshop. Practitioners met LPLC risk managers and were made aware of the resources available to them, particularly on the website. The workshops enable LPLC to share its experience about the pitfalls of starting a new practice.

Technology, while enabling practitioners to increase their efficiency, does come with accompanying threats. We have seen instances of phishing and spear phishing where clients have their emails hacked and the hacker impersonates clients in an attempt to access money.  We also see law practices being imitated with the use of persuasive looking logos and email addresses. LPLC has endeavoured to raise awareness of these threats.

The claims team, led by Justin Toohey, continued its work in finalising claims as expeditiously as possible. Three hundred and ninety-six matters for barristers and solicitors were finalised during the reporting period.

This is the last year in which I will be reporting as CEO as I step down from my position at the end of the calendar year after nearly 32 years with the organisation.

I began my career with LPLC shortly after it began in 1986. During that time I have dealt with four different regulators, four governing Acts for the legal profession and three competition policy reviews.

LPLC came close to extinction in 1996 but two subsequent competition policy reviews recognised the public benefit to consumers of legal services in Victoria delivered by a unique statutory model. The third review recognised that the benefits should be extended to barristers.

This model has weathered a major recession and the global financial crisis. In 2001, HIH Insurance went into administration. Among other professions it insured Victorian barristers who were then left without cover. LPLC has also delivered the certainty of available insurance to all practitioners, together with run off cover after practitioners cease practice. We manage claims each year against former practices and retired practitioners.

I have worked with five chairmen including the current Chairman, John Corcoran AM, whom I thank for his support.

However, the most crucial part of the LPLC’s longevity and success has been its staff, many of whom have served more than 10 years and some more than 20 years. It is their accumulated knowledge which drives efficient and effective claims management and claims prevention for the benefit of consumers and practitioners.

Miranda Milne
Chief Executive Officer

Claims – Solicitors

During the reporting period 355 claims and notifications were finalised.

There were 480 new claims and notifications opened in 2017 which was a slight increase of four per cent compared to the 2015/16 year. However, the estimated cost of claims for the reporting year has closed at a substantial increase of $39 million. This is principally on account of the much higher cost of claims in the conveyancing area.

While there has been an improvement in claims estimates in prior policy years of $13 million, there are now only three policy years which have estimates of more than $30 million. This is pleasing when taking into account the number of solicitors insured by LPLC, now being over 16,000 practitioners practising in more than 4,000 practices.

The charts on page 8 set out the percentage of claims and cost of claims by area of practice.

The substantial increase in the cost of conveyancing claims has been attributable to failure to give adequate advice to purchasers about what they were buying. There were also claims arising from stamp duty issues, usually for late lodging of documents or transactions where duty was unnecessarily incurred. Claims also arose from practitioners acting in sales by owner builders or where GST liabilities were not addressed.

There has also been an increase in the cost of claims in leases as well as wills and estates with a small increase in family law matters. Other areas of practice were consistent with past performance.

Errors arose in drafting of wills and errors in administering estates which were often administered prematurely. This suggests that skills in the drafting of wills are not what they once were.

Unusually, failure to manage legal issues was the dominant underlying cause for almost half the anticipated cost of claims for the policy year, particularly in the areas of conveyancing and commercial transactions.

There was increased exposure in respect of claims arising from simple oversight, while poor communication and poor engagement management together accounted for over 25 per cent of the dollar cost across all practice areas.

Cost of paid and unpaid claims 2012–2017 ($m)

Number of open and closed files 2012–2017

Percentage number of claims by area of practice 2016/17

Percentage cost of claims by area of practice 2016/17

Claims – Barristers

There were 52 claims and notifications for barristers in the reporting period, with estimates of $1.78 million.

With a little over 2,000 barristers insured by LPLC, claims incidence is low but volatile from year to year. Barristers generally do not perform transactional work, which differentiates much of their risk from that of solicitors.

There were 41 files closed/finalised during the 2016/17 year.

Not surprisingly, more than half of all claims and notifications arose from litigation, particularly commercial litigation.

Barristers were subject to applications for or the threat of, personal costs orders made pursuant to the Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic). These were initiated either by opponents or by the relevant court. There were also threats from clients against whom adverse costs orders were made, particularly where orders for indemnity costs had been made.

Claims arose out of clients unhappy with settlements or clients who felt aggrieved they should have been advised to accept offers of settlement, which were then rejected. Others felt they had simply been provided with inadequate advice about the prospects of success or failure in litigation.

Unfortunately, there is usually at least one unhappy party where cases proceed to judgement or are settled on terms which are perceived by the client to be unfavourable.

Underlying causes behind these claims included failing to manage legal issues, failing to manage the engagement with the client or inadequate communication with clients.

Cost of paid and unpaid claims 2012–2017 ($m)

Number of open and closed files 2012–2017

Percentage number of claims and notifications by area of practice 2016/17

Percentage cost of claims and notifications by area of practice 2016–17

Risk management

To assist practitioners avoid risks and minimise their exposure to claims the LPLC Risk Management Team provided the profession a range of educational resources and forums as well as mitigating strategies on claims prevention.

Summary of 2016/17

Lplc seminars

  • 64 events
  • 2,270 attendees

External speaking engagements

  • 49 presentations

Publications

  • 14 new and 4 revised publications
  • 15 newsletters and articles
  • 5 new videos
  • 45 blogs
  • 1,087 blog subscribers

Website

  • 163,142 LPLC website pages viewed

Communications with firms and practitioners

  • 216 Hotline enquiries
  • 387 Newly established firms contacted
  • 1,149 Practitioner telephone and email enquiries
  • Risk assistance program and other firm visits
    • 53 firm visits
    • 18 written reports
    • 2 whole firm risk training sessions
  • Claims follow-up project
    • 132 closed claims reviewed
    • 42 firms followed up
  • Risk managers network
    • 3 meetings
    • 40 attendees

Other activities

  • Advocacy for a practice management course
  • National Risk Managers’ Conference
  • 6 LIV, VLSB+C, LPLC meetings

Seminars and speaking engagements

Locations of LPLC seminars held in 2016/17

LPLC Boardroom Series

Attendees – 433
Sessions – 18

Launched in July 2016, the LPLC Boardroom Series are topical one to one and half hour seminars for up to 20 practitioners. The five topics covered were CGT, identity verification, work intake and file management, GST and people management.

Building Solid Foundations workshops

Attendees – 103
Sessions – 18

Tailored for practitioners setting up new firms, these small group workshops gave practitioners access to an experienced manager to ask questions, share information and learn the fundamentals for establishing a legal practice. Topics covered included management systems for law practices, the LPLC insurance policy as well as planning and strategy.

2016 Risk Management Intensive

Attendees – 670
Sessions – 3

As in previous years, the same program was conducted on three separate days to maximise the opportunity for practitioners to attend the workshops. The topics presented included cybercrime, adverse costs, paying trusts money and conveyancing.

For the first time attendees received the video of the sessions via a password-protected section of the website rather than a physical DVD.

2016 Legal Business Essentials

Attendees – 148
Sessions – 6

The program for the half-day workshops, a repetition of the successful series run in 2014 and 2015, was designed to develop crucial skills and knowledge to assist practitioners build and manage a successful legal practice. The topics included estimating costs effectively, how to strengthen relationships, managing work intake and developing your people.

2016 Metro Series

Attendees – 197
Sessions – 4

2016 was the second year the half-day workshops for metropolitan lawyers were run. The same program was conducted at each of the four suburban Melbourne locations. The topics were tax, risk in commercial law and managing risk throughout your practice.

2017 Regional Risk Management Tour

Attendees – 548
Sessions – 11

The half-day seminars were tailored to the specific needs of regional practitioners. The presentations covered tax, transactions traps and avoiding claims in changing times, and the same program was conducted at each location.

Estimating costs effectively workshops

Attendees – 171
Sessions – 4

Two of the half-day workshops were held in Melbourne and the other two were in Bendigo and Geelong. The workshops were presented by Liz Harris of Harris Cost Lawyers and were designed to help practitioners identify the risks and manage their clients’ expectations more effectively.

Other speaking engagements

Engagements – 49

LPLC experts delivered presentations on wide-ranging topics from the new CGT withholding regime and conveyancing claims to professional responsibility in court and settlement negotiations.

The locations and events included The College of Law, Leo Cussen Institute, Law Institute of Victoria, law firms as well as other legal forums, conferences and interest groups. In May 2017, the Chief Risk Manager was a participant in a panel at The Eighth Annual General Counsel, Compliance and Risk Forum in London, UK.

Publications

Short training videos

New videos – 5

Each of the four-minute videos depicts a different scenario of a practitioner heading for a claim as well as an alternative approach that would have avoided the claim.

Practice risk guides

New guides – 1
Revised guides – 3

LPLC’s practice risk guides identify and explain key risks for specific areas of practice. The new and revised practice risk guides covered superannuation, personal injury litigation, mortgages and time limits.

Client brochures

New brochures – 2

LPLC published a sample brochure to assist firms manage the relationship and communication with their clients right from the start of their retainer. Firms could tailor the content to suit their specific needs.

To assist practitioners explain the difference between joint tenancy and tenancy in common to their clients, LPLC also published a diagram on the LPLC website.

Checklists

New checklists – 8

During the financial year LPLC published new checklists on a range of topics including identity verification, tax issues as well as opening, closing and transferring files.

Bulletins

New bulletins – 3
Revised bulletin – 1

The bulletins LPLC published to alert practitioners about significant developments in terms of professional risk covered new CGT withholding payments and cyber security risks.

In Check newsletter

Newsletters – 4

LPLC’s quarterly online newsletter covered topics, including terminating contract notices, cyber security, the Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria and CGT.

Law Institute Journal

Articles – 11

Similar to previous years, LPLC published articles in the Victorian Law Institute Journal providing in-depth risk management advice on a range of legal issues including solicitor’s certificates, handling trust money as well as the importance of delegation and supervision.

Blogs

Blog posts – 45|
Subscribers – 1,087

LPLC’s weekly blog discussed current or recurring risk management themes on a wide range of issues including seeking a personal cost order, new cyber security resource, superannuation claims and the new CGT threshold.

LPLC website

Page views – 163,142

LPLC continued to improve its website with additions including a more user friendly and flexible e-commerce section for booking seminars and a new resources page for cyber security information. Practitioners again visited the website to access claims and risk management information as well as renew their insurance online.

The four most viewed pages listed were:

  • Working together – roles and obligations brochure
  • 2016 Risk Management Intensive
  • Face to face verification of identity
  • Starting a practice.

Communication with firms and practitioners

Welcome kit

Emails sent – 387
Follow up phone calls – 300

LPLC continued to contact newly established firms via a tailored welcome email containing essential links and contact details as well as by telephone.

Telephone and email enquiries

Enquiries received – 1,149

LPLC risk managers answered telephone and email enquiries on client-related matters as well as practice management issues.

LPLC hotlines

Enquiries received – 216

LPLC’s three hotline services on goods and services tax, personal property securities and water continued to provide practitioners with advice on these complex issues.

Claims follow-up project

Files reviewed – 132
Firms followed up – 42

To assist LPLC understand the underlying causes of claims as well as help firms avoid similar claims in the future, this new project involved reviewing closed claims and speaking to relevant firms.

Risk assistance program and other firm visits

Firms visited – 53
Reports – 18

LPLC visited firms of all sizes to assist them with their risk management strategies. Two whole-of-firm risk training sessions were held to support this program. Over the same period LPLC also interviewed or visited 30 firms for various reasons such as health issues of the sole practitioner.

Risk managers network

Networking sessions – 3
Attendees – 40

To assist risk managers in LPLC-insured firms, LPLC started a risk managers network with the aim of creating a platform for in-house risk managers to share their knowledge and experiences.

Other activities

Advocacy

LPLC risk managers met with LIV and VLSB+C a number of times to discuss the need for and possible structure of a compulsory practice management course in Victoria.

National risk managers’ conference

LPLC risk managers met with the insurance risk managers from interstate schemes to discuss risk initiatives and issues.

Meeting with LIV and VLSB+C

Meetings – 6

LPLC attended meetings with LIV and VLSB+C to discuss issues of mutual concern, activities or projects each organisation was undertaking and opportunities for collaboration.

Investments

Investment return for the reporting period was 8.7 per cent in a year which saw significant volatility in markets for both Australian and international equities. The performance was better than expected in an investment environment in which muted returns were predicted.

On a year by year basis, the return was a significant improvement on the 2015/16 year and lifted the average return to 8.44 per cent over the last five years.

The Legal Practitioners’ Liability Fund continued as a balanced fund with an average allocation of 60 per cent to growth assets and 40 per cent to defensive assets.

Within its growth portfolio, LPLC maintained relatively low exposure to Australian equities in favour of international equities. There was an exposure to hedged and unhedged funds within international equities to address currency fluctuation risk.

LPLC retained its investment in unlisted wholesale commercial property, which has provided diversity in the growth portfolio. This investment has, over time, provided steady returns through fluctuations in markets for equities.

Willis Towers Watson Australia Pty Ltd were investment advisers to the Committee.

Funds were held with the following managers.

Australian Equities

  • Vanguard Australian Shares Index Fund

International Equities

  • MFS (Massachusetts Financial Services) Investment Fund
  • Real Index Global Share Fund
  • Schroder Emerging Markets Fund
  • Schroder Real Return Fund
  • Vanguard International Shares Index Fund

Property

  • Dexus Wholesale Property Fund

Cash

  • Cash was invested by way of term deposits with Westpac, ANZ, NAB and the Commonwealth Bank
  • Vanguard Australian Government Bond Index Fund
Asset allocation as at 30 June 2017

Investment return over five years (%)

Investment returns on a year by year basis over the last five years.

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee

John Corcoran AM
Chair

John Corcoran AM is Principal at the law practice of Russell Kennedy and was Chair of that firm for 10 years until 30 June 2017. He is a member of the board of Mercy Health.

He has been a board member of the Legal Services Board as well as the International Bar Association. He is also a past President of the Law Institute of Victoria and was President of the Law Council of Australia in 2009.

His experience as a commercial lawyer is in the areas of commercial property, retirement and aged care, as well as sale and purchase of business, and securities.

Patricia Kelly
Committee Member

Tricia has extensive experience in the financial services industry. She worked for Suncorp/AAMI where her roles included Executive General Manager Strategy & Business Development Personal Insurance and General Manager AAMI New South Wales. Prior to that she was a Director and Executive General Manager Life & Superannuation of Norwich Union Life Australia.

Tricia is a past president and honorary life member of the Insurance Institute of Victoria and a former Director of the Australian Insurance Institute. She is currently a non-executive Director of ANSVAR Ltd and of RACV Limited and subsidiary companies.

Helen Thornton
Committee Member

Helen is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years’ experience across a wide range of industries including financial services. Helen has extensive experience in governance, audit and risk management and she has held senior leadership roles at Deloittes, KPMG, BHP Ltd and Bluescope Steel Ltd, where she was responsible for the global risk management and insurance program.

Helen has 16 years’ experience as a non-executive director and is an experienced Chair of Audit and Risk Committees. She is currently on the board of Yarra Valley Water, the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board and is an independent member of the Risk & Audit Committees of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education and Training. She is a former board member of Rural Finance Corporation and Big Sky Building Society.

Catriona Lowe
Committee Member

Catriona is a lawyer with extensive experience in the consumer sector including directorships at the Consumers’ Federation of Australia, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. Catriona is also Co-Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Consumer Consultative Committee.

Catriona’s skills and expertise include policy analysis and corporate governance, legal practice management and consumer and competition law as well as dispute resolution and regulation.

John Cain
Committee Member

John has extensive legal experience in both the public and private sectors. He was the Managing Partner at Herbert Geer from 2011 to 2014 and the consultant overseeing the merger of that firm with Thomson Lawyers to create Thomson Geer. During John’s five years as Victorian Government Solicitor starting in 2006, he oversaw the restructuring of that office as well as the creation of a whole of government legal services panel. While in that position John also represented the Victorian Government and its departments and agencies at the 2009 Bushfire Royal Commission. Prior to these roles John was the CEO at the Law Institute of Victoria (2002-2006) and Managing Partner at Maurice Blackburn from 1991 to 2002.

John is the chair of the Centre for Innovative Justice, RMIT University, an advisory board member in the School of Business and Law, Victoria University and an advisory board member of the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre.

Adrian Finanzio SC
Committee Member

Adrian signed the Victorian Bar Roll in 1998, was appointed Silk in 2012 and is a leading Victorian barrister practising in the areas of planning and environment, local government, and major projects. He brings to LPLC a broad range of skills arising from the various committees on which he serves, including Barristers Chambers Limited, the Bar Readers Course Committee (as Vice Chair) and the Victorian Planning and Environment Law Association (as Vice President) and as a past member of the Victorian Bar Council.

Miranda Milne
Executive Member

Miranda was solicitor to the Committee until 1986 and has been CEO since 1996.

Prior to her appointment to the Committee, Miranda engaged in private practice, specialising in litigation and professional indemnity insurance.

Miranda has been a director of the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority and a trustee of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. She was also a member of the executive of the Trinity College Foundation. She sits on the Appeals Committee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

Organisational chart

Governance

LPLC:

  • manages and conducts the affairs of and is responsible for the organisation and business of LPLC
  • provides professional indemnity insurance for law practices
  • determines the terms of and submits policies of professional indemnity insurance for legal practitioners in Victoria for approval by the Victorian Legal Services Board
  • oversees investment of the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Fund
  • develops policy relating to national practice issues and professional indemnity insurance
  • oversees implementation of effective risk management for legal practitioners.

The Audit and Risk Committee comprised of Helen Thornton (Chair), Patricia Kelly and Catriona Lowe.

The Audit and Risk Committee oversees:

  • financial reporting
  • internal risk and control procedures
  • actuarial and reserving functions
  • corporate governance and compliance
  • conduct of audits, both internal and external
  • finances and budgeting procedures.

The Investment Committee comprised of John Cain (Chair), John Corcoran AM and Adrian Finanzio SC.

The Investment Committee:

  • makes recommendations to LPLC as to benchmarks, asset classes and asset allocation
  • monitors the fund’s investment strategies
  • makes recommendations to the Committee as to the appointment of fund managers and investment advisers.

The Remuneration and Appointments Committee comprised of Patricia Kelly (Chair) and John Corcoran AM.

The Remuneration and Appointments Committee considers matters pertaining to appointments and remuneration.

Committee meetings Audit and Risk Committee Investment Committee Remuneration and Appointments Committee
Eligible Attended Eligible Attended Eligible Attended Eligible Attended
John Corcoran AM 8 7 4 4 2 2
Patricia Kelly 8 7 4 4 2 2
Helen Thornton 8 8 4 4
Catriona Lowe 8 8 4 4
John Cain 8 8 4 4
Adrian Finanzio SC 8 6 4 3
Miranda Milne 8 8 4 3 4 4 2 2

LPLC Staff

Miranda Milne
Chief Executive Officer

The Committee began its operations in January of 1986. Miranda was solicitor to the Committee from May 1986 until October 1996 and has been the Chief Executive Officer since that time.

She previously worked in private practice in the area of insurance litigation, particularly professional indemnity insurance.


Justin Toohey
Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Justin is a trusted professional indemnity lawyer who combines experience over 30 years in both private legal practice and at senior executive level in the insurance industry. He assists the CEO with the Committee’s corporate governance and leads LPLC’s team of experienced claims solicitors.

Justin joined LPLC in 2005 from IBL Ltd where he was employed for four years as National Claims and Risk Manager with the professional indemnity scheme run by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

Prior to 2001 Justin was a partner with Tress Cocks & Maddox specialising in professional indemnity litigation and was a panel solicitor to the Committee conducting the defence of claims against members of the profession for more than 10 years.


Martin Dohnt
Chief Financial Officer

Martin joined LPLC as Chief Financial Officer in December 2013 and manages the accounting, finance and payroll functions. Martin previously worked in the financial services industry where he held senior finance management positions in credit unions and friendly societies.


Bronwyn Hine
Claims Solicitor

Bronwyn joined LPLC in 2006 from the Melbourne office of then specialist insurance firm Moray & Agnew.

In the 10 years prior to joining LPLC, Bronwyn worked in private practice in Victoria and South Australia as a professional indemnity defence solicitor.


Alex Macmillan
Claims Solicitor

After 17 years in private practice specialising in insurance litigation, Alex joined LPLC on secondment as a partner from Lander & Rogers. She subsequently joined the Committee staff permanently in 1994.


Josh Clutterbuck
Claims Solicitor

Josh joined LPLC in October 2013 after 11 years as a Victorian solicitor in private practice.

Prior to commencing as a claims solicitor, Josh worked in the General Insurance group at Lander & Rogers as a senior associate defending personal injury claims, liability claims generally and  class actions.


Prue Campton
Claims Solicitor

Prue specialised in commercial litigation with Allens for 24 years prior to joining LPLC in 2014. She also practised as a general common law and insurance litigator  with Ashurst.


Heather Hibberd
Chief Risk Manager

Heather practised as a solicitor for eight years in insurance litigation at Minter Ellison specialising in professional indemnity litigation before joining the Committee on secondment in 1999. She became a permanent member of staff in 2001 and has been Chief Risk Manager since September 2010.


Matthew Rose
Risk Manager

Matthew joined LPLC in 2010 after working in risk management roles with the London office of global law firms Clifford Chance and Mayer Brown. Previously, Matthew practised as a senior associate in Minter Ellison’s commercial litigation group.


Phillip Nolan
Risk Manager

Phil joined LPLC in February 2013 and was formerly a principal at SBA Law. He is a member of the Property Law Committee and Dispute Resolution Committee at the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV).

He is a Senior Fellow of the University of Melbourne where he lectures on Property Law to postgraduates in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.

On 18 November 2011 Phil received the LIV Certificate of Service Award.


Stephen Bubb
Risk Manager

Stephen joined LPLC in January 2016 after 18 months at the Law Institute of Victoria and over 30 years in private practice. In addition to legal work Stephen is a director at Goulburn Valley Water Corporation and has successfully completed the directors training course at the Australian Institute of Company Directors. His particular focus is legal practice management.


Bernadette Mallia
Corporate Services Manager

After working in the property/leasing department of several city law firms, Bernadette joined the Committee in 1988. In addition to supervising the annual renewal of insurance and overseeing the maintenance of the LPLC database, Bernadette is the reference point for insured practitioners, LPLC service providers and other stakeholders.

Supplementary information

Legislation administered by the Committee

The Legal Practice Act 1996 –  1 July 2005 to 11 December 2005.

The Legal Profession Act 2004 –  12 December 2005 to 30 June 2015.

The Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 –  1 July 2015 to 30 June 2017.

Financial management regulations

The information specified in the Financial Management Regulations has been prepared and is available on request to the Attorney-General, Members of Parliament and the public.

Whistleblowers policy statement

LPLC is committed to the objectives of the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001 (Vic) (WP Act). LPLC recognises the value of transparency and accountability and will support the making of any disclosures pursuant to the guidelines set out in the WP Act, but subject to section 112 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (Vic).

Compliance with the Building Act 1993 (Vic)

LPLC does not own any buildings and consequently is exempt from notifying its compliance with the building and maintenance provisions of the Building Act 1993 (Vic).

Categories of documents held by LPLC

  • Applications by legal practitioners for insurance.
  • Assessment notices.
  • Notifications by legal practitioners of claims or circumstances likely to give rise to claims.
  • Board papers and minutes for LPLC and LPLC sub committees.
  • Management records.
  • Administration records.
  • Accounting records.
  • Library material.

Freedom of information

LPLC has received no requests pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) for the reporting period.

Publications

LPLC continues to publish relevant information on its website www.lplc.com.au.

Occupational health  and safety

LPLC continued its commitment to OH&S compliance during the reporting period. Three staff members are trained as first aid officers. All issues relating to safe work place practices are considered and reported at staff meetings. There were no reported OH&S related incidents in the reporting year.

Workforce data

The Committee undertakes an annual performance appraisal and salary review of the CEO. Department managers conduct an annual performance review of their respective direct reports. The CEO conducts an annual performance review of her respective direct reports.

Staff members are able to raise issues privately with the CEO and Corporate Services Manager at any time. Alternatively, matters can be raised with the Committee.

2015/16

Position Male Female Total
Chief Executive Officer 1 1
Chief Financial Officer 1 1
Claims Manager 2 3 5
Risk Manager 3 1 4
Office Manager 1 1
Communications Manager 1 1
Premiums Manager 1 1
Digital Content and Reporting Manager 1 1
Receptionist/PA/Administration 6 6
Total 6 15 21

2016/17

Position Male Female Total
Chief Executive Officer 1 1
Chief Financial Officer 1 1
Claims Manager 2 3 5
Risk Manager 3 1 4
Corporate Services Manager 1 1
Communications Manager 1 1
Premiums Manager 1 1
Digital Content and Reporting Manager 1 1
Receptionist/PA/Administration 6 6
Total 6 15 21

Environmental issues

In July 2009, LPLC registered with Sustainability Victoria to develop an environmental management plan (EMP). This plan assists LPLC to manage the environmental impact from its day to day business activities.

LPLC staff attended a series of workshops held through Sustainability Victoria’s Resource Smart Government program.

Each area of LPLC’s business was assessed to see where energy was used, resources consumed and how this could be reduced. The task of monitoring this EMP has been allocated to a team within the office.

The plan covers the 2016/17 reporting year.

Energy consumption

LPLC will continue with its energy saving initiatives such as using natural light in offices where possible, shutting down computers and printers after hours and only having lights on in the parts of the office where necessary. LPLC again made a commitment to purchase no less than 20 per cent green power for office requirements.

Total energy usage was 59,220 kWh compared to 54,582 kWh in 2015/16 and the energy used per unit of office area 83.40 compared to 76.87 in 2015/16. kWh of energy used per FTE was 3483.

The 2017/18 target is to reduce energy usage by at least 10 per cent.

Waste generation

LPLC continues to monitor the levels of waste generated by its operations and staff. Building management continue to provide a commingled recycling service which has assisted greatly in reducing waste generated by LPLC sent to landfill.

LPLC continues to reduce waste generation through recycling of all computer components, CDs, DVDs, used printer cartridges, old dictating equipment, old mobile phones, old landline phones and any other computer peripherals by using a not for profit recycling service, Byte Back.

LPLC continued to recycle close to 90 per cent of its waste for the reporting period.

Paper consumption

The policies adopted by LPLC in purchasing only printers that are capable of double sided copying, defaulting all communal printers to double sided and using electronic documents instead of paper whenever possible are still policies which are very much adhered to.

A very high percentage of LPLC’s paper and cardboard waste is recycled through a secure paper recycling contractor. LPLC recycled 1.33 tonnes of paper in the reporting period which contributed to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 1.9 tonnes of carbon over 2016/17.

Units of paper used per FTE (A4 reams/FTE) was 22.41 which was a reduction from the previous year.

The target for the 2017/18 year is to reduce the paper consumption by at least 10 per cent compared to 2016/17, taking into account the increase in producing risk management material in-house.

Transport

LPLC does not operate a fleet of vehicles for business use and has a travel policy which includes the purchase of carbon credits for all air travel undertaken.

Competition policy

Until 11 December 2005 section 227A of the Legal Practice Act provided:

‘For the purposes of the Trade Practices Act 1974 of the Commonwealth and Competition Code, the entering into and performance of a contract of professional indemnity insurance by a person or firm and the Liability Committee under sections 224, 225, 226 or 227 is authorised by this Act.’

From 12 December 2005 until 30 June 2015 section 3.5.5 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 provides:

‘For the purposes of the Trade Practices Act 1974 of the Commonwealth and Competition Code, the entering into and performance of a contract of professional indemnity insurance by a law practice and the Liability Committee under this Part is authorised by this Act.’

From 1 July 2015 section 119 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 provides:

‘For the purposes of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 of the Commonwealth and Competition Code, the entering into and performance of a contract of professional indemnity insurance by a law practice and the Liability Committee is authorised by this Act’.

Consultants

Consultants each year provide specialist advice to assist with decision making and risk management programs. During 2016/17 total consultancy expenditure as defined by the Financial Management Act 1994 (Vic) was approximately $381,224.

Taylor Fry – Actuaries

Taylor Fry is LPLC’s actuary. The expenditure for the reporting period was $119,804. Taylor Fry has been retained as LPLC’s actuary for the 2017/18 reporting period.

Cumpston Sarjeant – Actuaries

LPLC also obtains actuarial advice from Cumpston Sarjeant. The consulting fee paid to this firm for the reporting period was $42,033. Cumpston Sarjeant has been retained for the 2017/18 reporting period.

Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson is LPLC’s Fund Administrator. The expenditure for the reporting period was $219,387. Willis Towers Watson has been retained for the 2017/18 reporting period.