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We have once again secured the Law Society’s law management quality mark, Lexcel, which we are proud to have held continuously since 2009 when we were the first firm in Bedford to achieve such a prestigious accreditation.

This accreditation is developed specifically for the legal profession. It is an optional, recognised accreditation scheme for law firms and in-house legal departments which gives assurance that a practice meets high client care and business management standards. This accreditation applies to all legal work done within the practice except for mediation work as this area is not assessed by Lexcel.

To gain and retain this accreditation, the practice must undergo a rigorous initial assessment process which is repeated annually. This includes conducting background checks and an on-site visit from an experienced and trained assessor.

Ann Pryer, one of the partners of Sharman Law said: “Whilst we are proud to have secured this accreditation, it is our clients and staff who are the main beneficiaries. They can be assured that the way we manage the practice has their interests at heart and runs efficiently. There is a lot of choice in the legal service market, but being Lexcel accredited demonstrates our commitment to client care and best practice.”

Andrew Caplen, President of the Law Society of England & Wales, said, “Gaining and maintaining this accreditation is no mean feat. There are many facets of being a Lexcel accredited law firm, including client care. A commitment to customer service in today’s evermore competitive legal services market is vital.

“By undergoing the rigorous Lexcel application and assessment process practices can show the positive steps they are taking to help clients in the increasingly diverse complicated legal services market.

The scheme is a beacon of quality to clients and potential clients alike.”

There are more than 1500 other legal practices in England & Wales with this accreditation. The practice management accolade has also gone international, with firms as far afield as in Scotland, and the Middle East, Poland and the Republic of Ireland having gained accreditation.

The firm was assessed by director of LexConex Limited and Lexcel assessor Michael Johnson. Following the assessment in November 2016, he had this to say:

As Sharman Law’s Auditor, I am very pleased to say a few words about this remarkable Firm. They voluntarily undergo quality audits twice a year, one for The Law Society’s quality standard (“Lexcel”), and then six months later, for the LawNet Quality Standard (“LQS”) which is a fusion of the latest 2015 version of ISO 9001, Lexcel and the professional Code of Conduct for Solicitors. These are highly demanding standards, both of which have a primary objective: client care. I have been auditing since 2009 and before that was a practising Solicitor since 1986, so I have a keen eye for quality.

Sharman Law take in their stride the requirements of Lexcel and LQS and go far beyond those requirements. For example, at the 2016 Lexcel assessment they achieved zero non-compliances (a feat in itself for any law practice) and a highly impressive 42 Areas of Good Practice. These range, for example, across sound strategic and financial management, caring support and professional development of their staff, steps to protect clients against cybercrime, constantly very high client satisfaction levels, skilled supervisors and very well run files. Two aspects really shine through: some members have been with the Firm for over 30 years, and the real proof of the pudding is that clients come back and recommend to others, including family, generation after generation. I look forward to seeing yet further developments at Sharman Law when I come to audit them under these standards in 2017.