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the way to deal with this issue was to design checklists
and prompt sheets for use in a matter to highlight
specific risks. Development of these documents started
in 2007, and they are continually released as new risks
We introduced three new projects in late 2012, which have
been significantly advanced in 2014 and 2015:
We see real advantage in multiplying the effect we have in
the profession by targeting two key areas:
1. Regional speaking events -- there is value in the wider
profession understanding how useful and easy to
implement some risk strategies are. Often, the best voice
comes from inside the profession itself. We have been
delivering sessions at conferences along with local
practitioners to ensure that the risk messages heard
are not just from Lexon, but also from real practitioners
in the same area.
2. We insure a number of very large practices employing
hundreds of practitioners. We have built relationships
with dedicated Lexon Risk Representatives inside
these practices. The function of these practitioners is
fundamentally to become the risk owner in that entity.
This extra layer of relationship keeps a heightened focus on
risk issues, especially in between risk workshop visits.
A large number of our risk tools have been based purely on a
checklist format. We have determined to take elements from
our current tools and embed the risk prompts further into
the legal process. For example, rather than using a checklist
to review due diligence searches, which then necessitates a
separate report being prepared to the client, we produce the
skeletal due diligence report with the relevant prompts in it.
Not all tools, nor all aspects of them, are amenable to this
process; however, the further we can integrate prompts into
everyday practical tools that are already a part of the file
process, the more effective they will be in reducing claims.
We commenced this project to consider why good
practitioners miss issues well known to them. While a lack of
expertise is a feature in some claims, it certainly is not in the
majority of cases. We have spent time with experts from other
disciplines considering the psychology and neuroscience of
errors in professional work. This does not appear to have been
undertaken extensively for the legal profession.
This research has directed the development of our fourth
risk workshop, which is currently being rolled out across the
state, as well as a range of other strategies to build brain
function learnings into risk interventions.
Further targeted application of our risk assets
We continue to use our risk workshop program as a broad-
spectrum risk management tool.
In late September 2013, we commenced a collateral
program: Stress Testing. This program sees us target
specific known technical risks in discrete practice areas
where there may be high-value claims exposure. This is
a 'sleeves rolled up' discussion with practices working in
target areas, focused on key risks and systems. Existing
controls will be tested by consideration of current files.
We see this approach as giving us a broad risk discussion
with the entire profession, to be augmented with targeted
technical testing in known hotspots. This project is
focused on areas from which we anticipate claims may
come in the future.
Our approach to managing risk has delivered real value to
our insured practices and their clients across Australia.
About the author:
David Durham is a solicitor who was admitted
in 1991. His private practice experience involved
litigation and risk advice to a range of commercial
and charitable entities. He was Group Compliance
Counsel for Mayne Group Limited, managing
compliance for the entire entity. For the last nine
years, Durham has been Legal Risk Counsel for
Lexon Insurance, managing the risk of the legal
profession in Queensland and now for law firms
across the country with a Queensland base.
Durham's blend of private practice experience and
that of a client of many law firms across the country
has given him a unique perspective on the risks and
challenges facing the legal profession. Recent work
applying cognitive neuroscience learnings to the
practice of law now sees Lexon as a leader in risk
management in the legal profession internationally.
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