Many clients have never retained a lawyer before and do not know how to work effectively with them. This lack of understanding sometimes contributes to claims against law firms that could have been avoided or minimised if there had been better communication between the firm and the client about working together.

To help practitioners manage their clients’ expectations as well as explain both the client’s and lawyer’s roles and obligations in the relationship LPLC has developed a sample information brochure: Working together – roles and obligations. The brochure outlines what the law firm will do when acting for a client including when they will stop acting for a client. It also explains the law firm’s expectations of the client including at the first appointment, follow up appointments and during the course of the matter.

LPLC has also developed a cost estimates brochure to illustrate how estimates could be explained. It describes what costs estimates are, how they are calculated, what affects the estimates and how they will be kept informed about them.

The information is available in a Microsoft Word version so firms can tailor the wording to suit their needs and insert their own branding. Firms are also welcome to use the sample brochure if they so wish.

The brochures can be included in introductory information sent to the client, given to them in the initial contact, loaded on to the firm’s website and available in reception.

LPLC encourages firms to invest time into thinking creatively about ways to better communicate with their clients with a view to better managing the relationship and retainer with their clients.

Working together – roles and obligations (PDF Version) | Working together – roles and obligations (Word Version) 


6 February 2018

Deputy takes the helm

The Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee welcomes its new CEO. Justin Toohey took over as CEO of the LPLC on 1 January following the retirement of Miranda Milne, who had held the role since 1996. Previously deputy CEO and head of claims since 2005, he is committed to strengthening LPLC’s relationships with all its stakeholders. “I […]

1 February 2018

Use counsel wisely

Think about your approach to accepting work and briefing counsel. LPLC receives claims that can be attributed to practitioners’ over-reliance on, or poor briefing of, a barrister. In some instances, the practitioner acts outside their area of expertise and thinks they can just brief a barrister. In others, they fail to adopt a proactive approach […]

1 December 2017

Why apologise

When preparing a response to a complaint consider whether an apology should form part of the response. If you make a mistake in a civilised society it is expected that you will apologise to the wronged person. This protocol often falls down when insurance is involved because many people equate an apology and an admission […]

1 November 2017

Minimise your risk

Risk is a part of every legal practice.  Practitioners should be aware of the common underlying causes of negligence claims against law firms, as well as the practice management steps that can reduce risk. Every job is an opportunity to earn fees, do fulfilling work and enhance your reputation, but every engagement carries risk. You […]

1 October 2017

Audits add value

File audits are an important tool for all legal practices. File reviews are an effective way of checking your firm’s susceptibility to claims as well as being good file management practice. No matter the size of the practice, monitoring files for compliance with the firm’s standards and for identifying risk areas that need attention are […]

19 October 2016

Cyber security cautionary tale

Table of contentsIntroductionThe realistic emailHijacking his emailLessons Introduction Cyber security needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, whether you are in a small firm or a large firm. The recent experience of a Victorian law firm is a good example of how easy it is to be caught out. The realistic email A […]

23 May 2007

E-mail guidelines

Table of contentsSending e-mailReceiving e-mail Sending e-mail 1. Discuss with your clients at the outset what categories of communication they do or do not want via e-mail. 2. Consider if e-mail is the right medium for each communication. Would a posted letter, a face-to-face meeting or a telephone call be more appropriate? 3. Only put in an […]

23 March 2018

Confirm currency of money sent overseas

Sending money overseas is a common action for law practices today and we receive claims when the money is sent in the wrong currency. In our experience, the banks routinely convert the funds into the receiving country’s currency before sending it unless clearly instructed otherwise. In one claim the practitioner had given oral instructions to […]

16 March 2018

Change to migration agent registration and risks to consider

Practitioners may no longer be required to be registered as migration agents from 1 July 2018 under proposed changes. According to Dr. Lydia Wells from Murdoch University, these ‘…upcoming changes to the registration regime will bring opportunities for lawyers to enter this practice area…’. In her article No longer a ‘migration agent,’ in the October […]

9 March 2018

Warn clients to verify emails containing payment details

Could your clients be receiving fake emails from you? Much has been written recently about the need to speak to clients to authenticate email instructions about transferring money to client accounts. But if the client receives a fake email from your firm directing them to pay money into a bank account of the fraudster, will […]

8 December 2017

Updated conveyancing practice risk guide

In 2016/17 LPLC received 127 conveyancing claims and notifications which represented approximately 30 per cent of all claims and notifications received that year. The cost of these claims is currently estimated to be in excess of $10 million. This represents an increase in both the number and cost of claims compared to 2015/16. Given conveyancing […]

10 October 2017

Stop and think about loan agreements

When a client insists on entering into a risky loan agreement, it is essential to step back and think about whether the client has made an informed choice and you have documented their instructions and your advice. In one claim, the practitioner acted for a lender regarding a loan to a property developer. The practitioner […]

18 December 2017

Key Risk Checklist: Electronic property transactions – office management

Electronic property transactions – office management checklist Office policy content Below is a list of issues to consider when writing your office policy and recommended responses. ☐  Who will hold a digital signature? The digital signature is embedded in a USB. Preferably only partners have digital signatures. ☐  How a digital signature’s USB and pin […]

20 November 2017

Key Risk Checklist: File transfer from another firm

  Client intake Comment or detail Complete the client intake checklist to establish if you should act for this client in this matter at this time (click here). Immediate file review  Comment or detail Conduct an immediate file review to determine: critical dates and relevant time limits outstanding issues next steps. Internal procedure  Comment or […]

15 June 2017

Key Risk Checklist: File transfer to another practitioner within the firm

    File transferred to another practitioner within the firm Yes No Comment or detail Has the client requested the change of practitioner? □ □ Has the practitioner receiving the file confirmed they have the knowledge and capacity to do the work? □ □ Has the transferring practitioner completed a detailed memorandum that: details the […]

15 June 2017

Key Risk Checklist: File closing

  Work completed Yes No Comment or detail Have we written to the client confirming: all required work has been completed? □ □ any outstanding issues that are the client’s responsibility? □ □ any critical dates and consequences? □ □ future actions (such as exercise of an option) that is the client’s responsibility? □ □ […]

15 June 2017

Key Risk Checklist: File transfer to another firm

  File transferred to another firm at request of client Yes No Comment or detail Before we transfer the file have we: spoken with the client about their concerns? □ □ accounted for all work and disbursements? □ □ Have we written to the client confirming: the status of their matter including work completed and […]

11 May 2017

Know your limits

Table of contentsIntroductionLessons from the claimsTime limits most commonly missedClaims examples Introduction With the proliferation of time limits in legislation today missing limitation dates is a mistake that occurs in many areas of the law. The reasons for missing time limits are varied as are the potential repercussions. Sometimes it is a lack of knowledge […]

2 March 2018

Risk video bite – Conveyancing

Presenter: Phillip Nolan, Risk Manager, LPLC

2 February 2018

Risk video bite – Personal injuries litigation

Presenter: Matthew Rose, Risk Manager, LPLC

1 December 2017

Risk video bite – Supervision

Presenter: Alex Macmillan, Risk Manager, LPLC

3 November 2017

Risk video bite – Delegation

Presenter: Alex Macmillan, Claims Manager, LPLC

28 July 2015

Risk video bite – Engagement letters – what you will do and what you won’t

Presenter: Miranda Milne, Chief  Executive Officer, LPLC

21 December 2017

File note – meeting to advise about a guarantee

This file note is designed to be used by practitioners when they are advising third party guarantors and providing a solicitor’s certificate of their advice. Practitioners should review the file note template with the guarantee and/or mortgage documents before meeting with the client and make any necessary additions or changes to the typed file note […]

20 July 2017

Working together – roles and obligations

What we will do when we act for you Be courteous and polite at all times. Act in your best interests only. Keep your information confidential unless you give us permission to disclose it or we are required by law to disclose it. To enables us to handle your matter as quickly and economically as […]