The Law Society of Scotland's practice rules require that anyone who becomes a “manager of a practice” must attend the practice management course (PMC) within 12 months of assuming that role.
A “manager of a practice” is defined at Rule D 2.2 and includes sole practitioners, partners in firms and a member or director of an incorporated practice.
The course is also open to anyone considering becoming a partner and interested in finding out more about what their legal responsibilities would be. The course is then valid for 12 months.
The Law Society of Scotland is the sole provider of the practice management course.
The complete course consists of essential pre reading, a series of online modules and a training day, all of which must be completed to successfully complete the course.
You will receive the pre reading materials within one week of your registration.
It is essential that you complete the pre-reading so you can fully engage in the group work and discussions at the training day:
- "Accelerated Best Practice – implementing success in professional firms" (Fiona Westwood, 2015), Chapters 2 - 8
- The case study details
The online modules, delivered by the Law Society of Scotland and our master policy brokers Lockton, cover regulatory matters:
- Practice Rules
- Client Service
- Ethical Standards
- Business, Finance and Partnership
You will be given access to log-in and access the modules within one week of your registration.
All modules, including assessments, must be completed before the training day. Completion of the online modules will be tracked and monitored by the course organiser.
The Law Society of Scotland (5 hours)
1. Client Care 1: Complaints Investigation Process
2. Client Care 2: Complaints Avoidance & Management
3. New Accounts Rules
4. Money Laundering Regulations - A Basic Overview
5. AML Compliance Essentials for New Partners
6. Business, Finance and Partnership
7. Ethical Standards
8. Framework of Equality & Diversity Standards Guidance
Lockton (3 hours)
9. Professional Indemnity Insurance for Solicitors – the essentials
10. Introduction to Risk Management
11. Client and Transaction Vetting
12. Terms of Engagement
13. The Reality of Cyber Risk
Demonstrate an understanding of the practice rules and how to adhere to them and the ability to put systems in place to ensure that everyone he or she has responsibility for understands and adheres to them and in particular to be able to:
- Ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the Master Policy and the operation of effective risk management processes
- Ensure adherence to the accounts rules as they relate to all areas of practice under his or her control as partner
- Ensure adherence to the standards of conduct laid down by the Law Society
- Ensure adherence to anti-money laundering regulations and ensure that effective procedures are in place to achieve this for all areas of practice under his or her control as partner
Demonstrate good practice in client service so as to minimise the risk of complaints, and ensure that the complaints regime in Scotland is known and understood by everyone that he or she has responsibility for and in particular to be able to:
- Ensure compliance with the standards of service laid down by the Law Society
- Monitor client communication to ensure good practice and consistent standards of service
- Support the role of the client relations manager and ensure adherence to internal complaints procedures
- Communicate the role of the SLCC and ensure compliance with its complaint handling processes
Demonstrate and promote adherence to all ethical standards and in particular to be able to:
- Anticipate areas of potential ethical difficulty in all areas of practice under his or her control and ensure processes are in place to minimise and resolve these
- Apply and monitor processes to anticipate, prevent and resolve conflicts of interest
- Demonstrate and promote an understanding of the regulatory objectives and professional principles set down in terms of the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 having regard to access to justice and equality and diversity
- Ensure adherence to all practice rules relating to client confidentiality
Business, finance and partnership
Demonstrate an understanding of the financial and tax requirements for businesses and partnerships and the financial imperatives in running a business and in particular to be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of business accounts, financial management, pensions and tax
- Be able to analyse capital requirements, cash flow and profits as they relate to legal businesses
- Demonstrate knowledge of tax and accountancy matters affecting legal businesses and their owners
The pre-reading and the online modules must be completed prior to attending the training day.
The PMC culminates in a full-day training event which focuses on compliance and on professional and business skills including:
- Leadership and people management
- Client care
- Business development
- Business models and partnership
- Strategic and operational planning
- Running a business.
As well as presentations delivered by experienced trainers attendees will also participate in group work based on a case study set within a law firm. This exercise will require participants to draw on their preparatory reading as well as their own experiences working within a law firm.
Leadership and people management
Demonstrate effective leadership and management of people and in particular to be able to:
- Support the work of designated supervisory partners
- Ensure that where aspects of client service and business operations and compliance are delegated, the standards required are clearly established and reporting systems are in place to maintain regulatory responsibilities
- Contribute to and maintain a positive ethos within the partnership that supports equality and diversity and a good working environment for all staff
- Demonstrate the ability to anticipate and resolve human resource issues and conflict
Demonstrate an understanding of good client care and in particular to be able to:
- Ensure that all clients receive a service that adheres to the Law Society's standards of service and put systems in place to ensure that everyone that he or she has responsibility for understands and adheres to them
- Assess the risks and costs associated with types of clients and client work
Demonstrate the use of business development techniques and an understanding of the partner’s role in attracting new and repeat business and in particular to be able to:
- Meet the expectations of a partner’s responsibility to bring in business so as to increase turnover in the areas of practice for which he or she is responsible
- Encourage internal communications and collaboration in order to create a positive business development environment
- Apply modern business development and marketing methods, including the use of technology and social media
Business models and partnership
Demonstrate an understanding of different business models and their associated risks, including partnership agreements and degrees of liability for partners and in particular to be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of different legal business models
- Understand the degrees of joint and several liability that apply to partnership models
- Interpret partnership agreements and understand their implications personally and for the business
Strategic and operational planning
Demonstrate an understanding of business and strategic plans for legal businesses and in particular to be able to:
- Understand the processes involved in creating, implementing, monitoring and reviewing business and strategic plans
- Meet the expectations of a partner’s role in contributing to the business and strategic planning process and in implementing and reviewing business plans
Running a business
Demonstrate the knowledge, understanding and ability of the main requirements involved in running a business and in particular to be able to:
- Apply the statutory framework and requirements for running a business on his or her own account or in partnership with others, including corporate governance
- Apply risk management techniques applicable to running a business
- Ensure the awareness of sources of help, guidance and support for those involved in running a business
The training day is held three times a year - depending on demand - typically in March, June and October.
The next training day is Tuesday 13 March 2018, Glasgow. Register today.
The practice management course provides 14 hours of verified CPD (eight hours for the pre-reading and online modules and six hours for the training day.)