- A lack of file notes is a significant handicap in presenting a successful defence on behalf of an insured.
- Should a claim arise, without file notes there will be no clear documentary evidence of the oral communications between the solicitor, client and other parties involved in the matter.
- File notes should be contemporaneous, comprehensive and legible.
Every Lawcover presentation or workshop stresses the importance of making contemporaneous and comprehensive file notes of communications with, and advice provided to your clients. Lack of file notes is a significant handicap in presenting a successful defence on behalf on an insured, in the event of a professional negligence claim. Despite this, in just about every Lawcover presentation and workshop, practitioners provide me with various reasons as to why this is not possible: ‘I don’t have time in my busy practice’; ‘I can’t charge the client for spending time writing file notes’; or ‘I don’t see the necessity for them’.
So why does Lawcover continue to impress upon practitioners the importance of file notes?
If file notes are not made at the time or shortly after, there is a real risk that should a claim arise, there will be no clear documentary evidence of the oral communications between solicitor, client and other parties involved in the matter. Not only this, file notes assist in refreshing memory as to the status of a file, they help to provide a complete picture of the file which will enable another practitioner to work on the file if necessary and courts and judges expect that practitioners will document advice provided to a client.