Skip to content

Solicitors since 1809

Bedford 01234 303030 | Ampthill 01525 750750

Service Standards

We are a LawNet member firm, a national network of law firms committed to excellence. Each member firm is independently audited to ensure that we continue to deliver the highest standards in client care and professional service, to give you peace of mind that your case will be handled expertly, and that your interests will come first.

Better service - independently audited quality assured law firms

A good lawyer must be expert in the law; that goes without saying. But we also need to show a firm commitment to providing a clear, practical legal service with the highest quality procedures in place, giving you peace of mind that your case will be handled expertly. You can be confident that LawNet firms provide this, as every LawNet member is hand-picked, giving you confidence that you will receive only the best advice and services – quickly, efficiently, and at the right cost.

Every LawNet member must secure and maintain the LawNet ISO9001:2008 quality assurance standard – which includes regular independent evaluation, providing in-depth analysis of our performance and recommendations for continuous improvement to ensure customers receive the best possible service.

Better resources - local service, national resources

The combined income of the 65 firms comprising LawNet is currently in excess of £250m – equivalent to a UK Top 15 law firm – with members ranging from £2m to £20m turnover. It enables the network to provide LawNet firms with access to the types of resources normally only available in the largest firms. This means that customers benefit from a superior legal service combining local knowledge and personal detail backed by a depth and breadth of expertise comparable with the biggest law firms in the country.

Better connected - network of over 2,000 solicitors

As a LawNet member firm we are part of a network of over 2,000 lawyers across the UK, and with links across Europe through the Eurojuris network. Everyone in the network is committed to sharing expertise, knowledge and best practice, which ensures that you benefit from the experience and resources of not just your solicitor but the entire network.

LawNet does not seek to profit from its members, only to see them grow and be successful in their local market. Please visit www.lawnet.co.uk for more information.

Client Service Charter

Firms with the LawNet Mark of Excellence are committed to providing their clients with the highest standards of care and advice.

Our commitments to you:

Listening

  • We are committed to listening, understanding and helping you achieve your goals
  • We will ask you what you think about our service which may include asking you to complete a client satisfaction survey.

Communication

  • We will avoid jargon and use plain english explaining any necessary legal terms
  • We will communicate with you in the way you prefer
  • We will tell you how long we expect things to take and update you regularly on progress
  • If you contact us we will respond or acknowledge receipt of your communication promptly; and wherever possible within one working day
  • If the issue is more time sensitive or you tell us you need a response in a particular timeframe we will endeavour to meet your requirements.

Looking after you

  • All our clients are valued and important
  • We will let you know who will be working with you and give you their direct contact details
  • We will let you know what to do if you need to contact us out of office hours
  • We are committed to providing excellent service that takes your needs into account
  • We will be friendly, approachable and professional.
  • Fees

  • We will be open and transparent about our fees at all times, providing fixed fees where possible
  • Where not possible, we will give you the best information that we can on the likely total cost of your case at the outset
  • Should anything alter we will contact you before we incur any additional costs
  • Any bill we send you will be clear, describing the work done and amount charged.

Our people

  • Our firm is committed to ensuring that our clients are central to everything we do
  • We will ensure our people are properly resourced and have the appropriate training
  • When assigning the right person to your case we will take into account your needs, expectations and budget
  • We are committed to providing a positive working environment for our people
  • Our firm is regularly audited to ensure we maintain the high standards required to maintain the quality marks we hold
  • We will check we are providing excellent service by regularly monitoring client satisfaction with mystery shopping and asking clients what they think.

To provide you with excellent service, we need you to

  • Tell us what your objectives are and be clear about your expectations
  • Respond as soon as possible to any requests for information
  • Let us know straight away if anything changes
  • Work co-operatively with us to set and achieve realistic timescales
  • Appreciate that we have to follow a strict professional code of conduct
  • Help us to keep working for you by paying our invoices on time
  • Let us know if we are not providing you with the service you expected.

If things go wrong

  • If things go wrong or you are less than happy with our service please tell us immediately - we welcome your feedback as it helps us provide a better service
  • If we cannot resolve the problem we will let you know who to contact with your concerns.

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 Sharmans 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 become 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 said:

"As Sharmans 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. Sharmans 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 Sharmans when I come to audit them under these standards in 2017."