CQS – your practice may have been awarded membership but are you Walking the Walk?

Are you one of the 2600 firms who have successfully achieved membership of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme?

If so you jumped through the hoops to complete all the paperwork, you pulled together the supporting documentation, you heaved a sigh of relief when you were awarded membership and once you have reaped the benefit of being accepted onto more lender panels actually allowed yourself the luxury of getting on with other things.

But are you Walking the CQS Walk?

And if you are, do you feel that you are reaping the intended benefits from complying with the Core Practice Management Standards?

Although you may have felt pressured by the lenders into to applying for membership and you could certainly have done without the stress, the CQS is intended to help you to run a more efficient and risk averse practice.

That is why the lenders and the insurers are so keen for you to have it.

You will by now have noticed that the CQS fairies have not arrived at your firm to carry out all of the required activities; so if you have not been implementing the policies and procedures, and driving the standard through your residential conveyancing department, you may still need to roll your sleeves up and get down to it.

So how can you get the job done both easily and robustly?

  • Work with your team so that fee earners and key support staff play their part in complying to the standard
  • Ensure you have the right policies and procedures in place
  • Ensure you have the right suite of templates that are easy to navigate and can be accessed in a central place
  • Build the procedures and processes into your daily routines and keep things simple but effective.
  • Don’t let things slide and ensure you are always on top of file reviews and corrective actions.
  • Review the trends coming from file reviews, complaints, client surveys and any claims made and you will develop effective and useful “risk data”.
  • Utilise your case management system effectively to help you to
    • have visibility of all matters for effective supervision
    • run reports to ensure the financial aspects of matters are under control
    • set up a suite of compliance folders and templates within a “client” and “matter”
    • for multi office firms an “in the cloud” option will ensure that you can all access the same data and be more effective with spot checks

You can make the CQS work for you as intended, and if you do decide to develop further and push on towards achieving the Lexcel standard you will have taken a big step in the right direction.

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