LSUC Recommended Practice Policies
Last quarter, I posted an article reminding lawyers on the importance of Employee Policy Manuals and listed links to a number of the current legislated polices. I also indicated that I frequently encounter law firms that are too busy to dedicate the proper resources to preparing these manuals. Often they only take action if they receive a recommendation report from the Law Society following an associate practice audit.
Spring is a great time to review any existing policies and practices on an annual basis and complete what is missing in order to become or stay compliant.
The following list extracted from the Practice Review Guidelines published by The Law Society of Upper Canada, identifies areas where your firm should have a written policy. The policies with an asterisk * beside them are most frequently and highly recommended by the Law Society.
• Contingency planning*
• Conflicts of interest*
• Technology use*
• Tracking limitation periods and other key dates
• Docketing time
• Safeguarding client information
• Computer and email security
• Periodic review of files
• Working hours
• Distribution of work
• Opening and closing/destruction of files
• Walk-in- cold calls
• Welcoming clients (on phone and in person)
• Mail handling
• Workplace harassment
A number of these policies also fall under the legislated acts which I listed last quarter, including the Employee Standards Act.
At the very least you should have the legislated and Law Society recommended polices written up and made available to your employees. We find that there are also many benefits to providing employees with a guide which identifies practices and in-house policies that are specific to your firm’s culture.