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Lexcel FAQs

This section contains frequently asked questions about the Lexcel legal practice quality mark.

What is Lexcel?

Lexcel is the Law Society's legal practice quality mark for excellence in legal practice management and client care. It provides a flexible, supportive management framework to help practices and in-house legal departments develop consistent operational efficiencies and client services, manage risk effectively, reduce costs and promote profitability. It is the most appropriate Standard for the legal profession as it was written by solicitors for solicitors.

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Why should a legal practice apply for Lexcel?

Achieving Lexcel should benefit practices and in-house legal departments in a number of ways. Research and feedback from Lexcel-accredited practices has identified the following:

  • effective risk management leading to fewer claims or complaints
  • better customer service leading to increased client retention
  • lower insurance premiums or favourable treatment from insurers
  • improved marketability and competitive advantage
  • greater success in tenders, beauty parades and panel reviews
  • a major step towards demonstrating best value compliance for local authorities
  • consistency of service from all solicitors and practice groups
  • help with new practice rules
  • increased profitability.

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Should sole practitioners apply for Lexcel?

Yes, Lexcel is appropriate for all types and sizes of practices. It is particularly important for sole practitioners as they are perhaps under the most pressure to work harder, faster and smarter.

A sole practitioners guide has been created to highlight the different compliance implications.

Download the Lexcel International v5: sole practitioners guide (PDF 167kb) or contact us to obtain a copy.

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Why is Lexcel popular with local government?

Lexcel has been well received as it helps them to implement the requirements of best value and continuous improvement.

Many of those who have achieved the Lexcel legal practice quality mark for excellence in legal practice management and client care are from local authority legal departments. A guide for in-house legal practices has been created to highlight the different compliance implications.

Download the Lexcel International v5: guide for in-house legal practices (PDF 61kb) or contact us to obtain a copy.

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Why is Lexcel an effective risk management tool?

Lexcel is a good risk management tool as it covers all the main causes of claims against solicitors within the quality mark. In addition it covers specific procedures for assessing and managing risk within your practice.

A risk management toolkit has been published to provide assistance on how to avoid professional indemnity claims and become more successful at managing risk.

Purchase Lexcel Risk Management Toolkit

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How long does it take to achieve Lexcel?

This depends on how committed you are to achieving the award. Those practices who have concentrated on achieving Lexcel have done so in two to three months, though on average it is likely to take around six months.

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What are the costs of Lexcel?

Achieving Lexcel will include costs for:

  • an annual registration fee to the Law Society
  • an assessment fee to the assessment body conducting the assessment.

See our fee page for full details.

See our duration of assessment and sample guidelines (PDF 71kb) to calculate the duration of a Lexcel assessment.

Lexcel can help minimise the time and money your practice or in-house legal department currently spends on dealing with complaints and claims. You're also likely to receive a more substantial discount on your indemnity insurance premium. Lexcel is an investment and you are certain to recoup the money you have invested in many ways.

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Do I need to use a consultant?

Although you don't have to use a consultant you may find that it saves time and therefore money in the long run to do so.

Most Lexcel-awarded practices and in-house legal departments did not use a consultant but Law Society Consulting can ensure that you are fully prepared to meet Lexcel requirements prior to an initial assessment.

Alternatively, you can opt to register an employee from your own practice to undertake Lexcel training, in effect becoming an in-house Lexcel consultant. However, there are no courses planned in the immediate future.

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How does Lexcel compare to other quality standards?

Lexcel combines some elements of Investors in People, some elements of ISO 9001, and is a readily-translated quality standard for the legal profession.

If you have any other quality standards, such as the Legal Aid Agency's Specialist Quality Mark, ISO 9001 or Investors in People, then your assessment could take even less time and also cost less, since you will be allowed exemptions for any areas already covered. In many cases, a joint assessment might be possible.

See the guides below for overlaps:

Lexcel International v5 - SQM overlap analysis (PDF 223kb)

Lexcel International v5 - Investors in People overlap analysis (PDF 159kb)

Lexcel v4.1 - ISO 9001:2000 overlap analysis (PDF 106kb)

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Does Lexcel involve a set of systems and procedures?

Lexcel does not specify the exact systems and procedures you must follow. Since all types and sizes of practices and in-house legal departments can apply, Lexcel specifies the areas which should be covered, but leaves you to implement whichever system or procedure you prefer, making it very flexible.

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Has the Standard been revised recently?

Yes, Lexcel has been revised to reflect the needs of both domestic and international markets.

Two versions of Lexcel are available to reflect the needs of domestic and international markets:

Lexcel England and Wales is divided into two versions to meet the needs of legal practices and in-house legal departments. These entities are defined as:

  • A law practice in the form of partnerships, limited liability partnerships, sole practitioners, incorporated law firms and alternative business structures (ABSs) authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
  • An in-house legal department, including those in corporations, public sector (including ABSs), law centres, not-for-profit and government organisations.

Lexcel England and Wales v6 mandatory assessments come into effect from 1 May 2015. All new applications being assessed before this date can be assessed against Lexcel v5 (now Lexcel International).

Lexcel International v5 is for practices located in foreign jurisdictions or based in England and Wales with independent offices overseas.

Download the different standards:

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How is the Law Society promoting Lexcel?

The Law Society is keen to raise the profile of Lexcel, both among the profession and with buyers of legal services and the general public.

Raising the profile of Lexcel among potential clients and customers is achieved in a number of ways:

  • Find a Solicitor
    The Lexcel logo is shown against every accredited practice on the Law Society's Find a Solicitor website.
  • Online marketing
    Paid search campaigns (via Google) and non-paid search (search engine optimisation - SEO) are the main methods by which we promote Lexcel and increase awareness among buyers of legal services for both businesses and consumers.

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How do I get the new logos and branding for my practice?

Accredited practices, assessors and consultants should contact us.

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When must I use the new logos?

Use of the new logos will be mandatory from 31 October 2015.

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My practice is not based in England or Wales, can we still become Lexcel accredited?

Yes - Lexcel International v5 applies to international practices.

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How do I choose an assessor?

You must select an assessment body (PDF 76kb). Assessments are carried out by one of three independent assessor bodies who are licensed by the Law Society. This ensures that the process is independent, objective and maintains rigorous quality control. The assessment body will be able to advise you on how an assessor is allocated.

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