File ReviewsSection 5 of the Lexcel standard covers risk management. Under paragraph 5.11 of the standard, practices must have a procedure for regular, independent file reviews of either the management of the file or its substantive legal content, or both. Firms must not only define and explain the file selection criteria but they must also:

  • define and explain the number and frequency of reviews;
  • retain a record of the file review on the matter file and centrally;
  • ensure any corrective action, which is identified in a file review, is acted upon within 28 days and verified;
  • ensure that the designated supervisor reviews and monitors the data generated by file reviews; and
  • conduct a review at least annually of the data generated by file reviews.

File reviews can be an unpopular drain on fee earning time but as part of the risk management strategy of your business are an important tool in helping managers understand levels of compliance across the practice. For those firms undertaking reviews of substantive legal content in addition to file management these will go some way towards compliance with the requirement of paragraph 4.4 of the SRA Standards and Regulations Code for Firms which requires firms to have an effective system for supervising clients’ matters.

How can we help?

If you are struggling to embed compliance file reviews into your practice and are looking to outsource these then we can assist you by providing regular or ad hoc reviews. We can also help refine your processes and report to you on any areas of concern to ensure that you fulfil your regulatory obligations and meet the requirements of the Lexcel standard.


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