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About QL and LAW9000

LAW 9000 – Legal Best Practice is a standard which uses the internationally recognised ISO 9001 as its foundation and contains best-practice criteria specific to a legal practice.

It replaces the Quality in Law program, which consisted of two tiers – the QL II Best Practice Program, and QL II – IV, based on the Australian Business Excellence Framework.

The QL Program was actively managed by QL Incorporated. QL was formed in the early 90’s and created a legal profession specific quality certification programme (originally called the QIL Code) which was later merged with the NSW Law Society’s Best Practice program to create the two tier scheme.


QL and the Law Society of New South Wales

The Law Society of New South Wales and QL have been in discussions for some time about finding ways in which they may work more closely in promoting quality management systems in legal practice.

It has been agreed that from April 1 2013 the Law Society will host the Secretariat of QL. This is intended to provide the resources necessary for QL to carry out its mission and to this end the Law Society is keen to extend a range of practical support to ensure that this happens.

In doing this the Law Society does continue to see benefits available at a national level and is keen to continue this as part of its work in an Australia wide legal services market.

Information about upcoming events etc will be distributed via the Law Society Monday Briefs

In 2012 it was decided by the Committee of Management that membership of QL would now be free. The 2012 Membership list will now become our mailing list.

More information about this and upcoming events will be included in the Monday Briefs in the second half of April.


LAW9000 and QL

LAW9000 has now superseded the Best Practice program and is managed by SAI Global. The relationship between SAI Global and QL is set out in a formal collaboration agreement, the other parties being The Law Society of NSW South Wales and The College of Law Pty Ltd.

QL and SAI are now partners in business improvement and quality certification for the legal profession in Australasia. QL’s major focus is to ensure that LAW9000 is the best quality management system for legal practice and that it is effective and constantly improved.

It has continuing liaison with SAI, and facilitates the review and development of legal quality standards for the LAW9000 and Excellence in Law programs. It includes representation from professional bodies and liaises with organisations involved in the management, regulation and education services for the practice of law.

The Schedule attached to the agreement lists the input of each party with QL constituting the advisory board to Standards Australia to undertake in consultation ongoing review and updating of the scheme.


Our Vision and Purpose

Our Vision – Continuous enhancement of the delivery of legal services

Our Statement of Purpose

QL is committed to ………

Continuous enhancement of the delivery of legal services by:

  • Encouraging continuing refinement of the LAW9000 standard and its adoption by legal practices
  • Partnering with appropriate providers of
    • LAW9000 training
    • Management education services and products
    • Audit and certification services
  • Engaging Members in continuing education about quality service initiatives
  • Sponsoring data collection demonstrating the benefits of certification

QL’s target audience is small to medium legal practices; however QL endorses the benefits for all providers of legal services and their clients

Our Strategy

The major strategic activities for the current year include:

  • Membership growth, mentoring and engagement in QL’s activities.
  • Continued development of Tier II with SAI.
  • Running membership education and information sessions in consultation with QL Partners
  • Collaborating with SAI in the review of the Standard in accordance with the principles embodied in ISO 9001:2000.
  • Engagement with SAI and representation to them of member’s feedback concerning the SAI/QL processes.
  • Engagement with representative bodies from the legal profession.

Quality in the Professional Service Firm

A good explanation of what quality is can be found in Module 1 of the Understanding and Implementing LAW9000 Course…

Quality is about:

  • Knowing what you want to so and how you want to do it
  • Learning from what you do
  • Using what you have learned to develop your organisation and its services
  • Seeking to achieve continuous improvement
  • Satisfying your stakeholders – those different people and groups with and interest in your organisation

Quality Systems – the difference

Quality systems are part of a strategic investment approach to business building with the aim of embedding consistency and good practice into business systems.

The quality and effectiveness of leadership is a prime determinant of the degree to which quality process and philosophy will be adopted by an organisation of seen and a requirement for compliance with an external framework.

Practices that have undertaken the quality process describe it in terms of long term investment with a payback measured in terms of heightened morale driven by empowerment of individuals in their work, competence in their carrying out of their responsibilities and confidence in review and improvement of processes.

Such practices generally report a high degree of engagement by their people with the organisation.

Practices which adopt a quality focus are better equipped to view client relationships within a long term strategic relationship focus rather than one determined by the immediate transaction to hand.

Practices with a culture of quality report less incidence of client “horror stories” where a cluster of omissions, non compliances and or unmet expectations produces and situation which requires a correspondingly complex analysis and solution.


Annual General Meeting and Election of Committee of Management

The Annual General Meeting of QL Incorporated GM was held on Thursday 13th December 2012 at the offices of Baker and McKenzie. The following members were elected to the Committee of Management for the 12 month term of office commencing at the meeting.

Office Bearers and Firms

President – Patrick Fair – Baker and McKenzie
Deputy President – George Anderson – Carroll and O’Dea
Treasurer – Andrea Foot – Caseflow Systems
Secretary – Greg Dwyer - Community Legal Centres NSW

Member Firm Representatives

Steve Schuurmans - Maurice Blackburn
Marisa Pacchiarotta – Private Practice
Peter Ellender - Carter Newell Lawyers

Additional Members

Ray Ward - Ward Legal
Steve Schuurmans - Chief Operating Officer, Maurice Blackburn
Michael Fitzgerald - Sole Practitioner, Sydney

Law Society of NSW

Michael Tidball – CEO Law Society of NSW

Law Cover

Janice Purvis – Risk Services Manager - Law Cover


Steve Mark – Legal Services Commissioner - NSW
Stephen Burke - QL Administrator


The Role of the QL Management Committee

The development of the LAW9000 program now means that the function of the Management Committee has evolved from being the operational manager of the QL Program to one focused on managing the relationship with SAI Global.

The ongoing liaison with SAI facilitates this process as well as the continuing development of legal quality standards for the Law 9000 and Excellence in Law programs.

The Management Committee does not now have a role in certification of a firm wishing to obtain LAW9000 certification and takes no direct role in this process. It is a non profit organisation with income derived from membership fees and royalties paid by SAI Global based on the number of firms certified as well as a royalty on material sold by SAI.


Meetings and Membership

The QL Management Committee meets quarterly and reviews the implementation of the annual strategy for the program and is composed of members drawn from the following areas;

  • Three representatives of the Member Firms;
  • One representative of the Law Society of New South Wales;
  • One representative of LawCover Pty Ltd;
  • Up to five additional persons as the Management Committee may appoint additional Management Committee members.

each of whom is to be elected at the annual general meeting of the association under rule 23.2.3


The Phillip King Memorial Award

The QL Management Committee have reinstituted the annual QL award - for the individual seen as having made the most outstanding contribution to the aims of QL in the previous year and have renamed it in honour of the late Philip King.

Philip King was Managing Partner at Allen Allen & Hemsley from 1986 – 1990, Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Sydney, Councillor of the NSW South Wales Law Society and Chair of the NSW College of Law. He was a foundation member and President of Quality in Law, the forerunner of QL, an inaugural member of the Law Society of NSW Best Practice Scheme as well as the author of “Professional Practice Management”. He was a fervent and energetic believer in excellence, his energy and vision being instrumental in establishing the recognition of quality certification in systems in law.

Past recipients have included Mike Ahrens from Transparency International and former partner at Baker and McKenzie and Craig Osborne of Russell McClelland Brown

The award is presented at the Annual General Meeting. 


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