I was really proud when my old firm, Cameron Markby Hewitt (now part of CMS Cameron McKenna), became the first City firm to be accredited as an Investor in People (IiP). The standard helped us improve so many practices, particularly planning and investments in business development and training.
Lexcel has come along for law firms and the results are impressive with these benefits typically cited by users:
- Better client care
- Better procedures for risk management
- Lower insurance premiums
Quality standards are taking off globally. A quarter of all ISO 9001 global certifications in 2010 were in China. Clearly many firms have benefited from working to quality standards.
So why my opening question? My belief is that the biggest danger when looking at quality standards is complacency. And I’ve been thinking about how to avoid it. Here’s one suggestion…
Ask your partners, associates and business support teams how well your firm performs typically, day to day, on a number of fronts. For example:
- How well are teams briefed on new matters?
- Are matters well planned and managed efficiently?
- How well do teams work across practice groups and offices?
The answers can be pooled and thereby anonymised and management can get a clear view as to where their focus of attention should be.
Here’s a questionnaire to help you diagnose the weak areas and minimise the risks of complacency.