We are pleased to launch the risk tracker, an interactive tool which can be used by law firms to manage unusual or high risks and store information centrally to inform their risk management processes.

This is a development of the winning entry of the 2018 Innovation Cup.

The tracker can be used for managing client matters but it can also be used for other risks within your practice.

The tracker is now available to download from this page. You will only require Excel to run the tracker, which makes it easy to implement within your business.

As well as the blank template we have also included a completed tracker by way of an example of how you might use the tool in your team.

Please be aware that the data included in the risk tracker will be subject to GDPR and rules regarding data ownership, in the same way as information contained in a client file.

Background – The Innovation Cup

In April 2018, the Innovation Cup was launched to seek new risk management solutions for law firms and the legal profession. The winner of the competition was Daryl Jarvis, a Glasgow trainee solicitor and his winning idea was a risk tracker.  

“The risk tracker concept was intended to create an easy to use and cost effective way for law firms to track and manage the risks that they face in their everyday work. Based on Microsoft Excel, the risk tracker can be quickly implemented by firms without further technical training for staff while also offering the flexibility to customise the template as required. At a high level, adopting the risk tracker will provide an excellent opportunity for firms to better understand their risks, review their processes and consider improvements for the future. In addition, it can provide a useful tool for those in a supervisory position, giving a view on priority, high risk matters and staff performance.  I hope that firms will find the tool a useful aid to managing risk in their business.”  

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the risk tracker?

It is a spreadsheet which firms can use to highlight:

  • Potential problems that arise in client matters
  • The probability and severity of the potential problem
  • Who is dealing with the issue
  • How the issue is being addressed
  • What matters may need to be prioritised

2. Why should I use the risk tracker?

The tracker allows you and your law firm's management to get an overview of potential problems that have arisen on matters, so that these issues can be assessed and managed accordingly. It can be a quick way of prioritising matters e.g. in times of unexpected staff absence.

3. How do I download the risk tracker?

Click on the Download icons on the right hand side of the page. It should automatically download to your system and you should then be able to open and save the Excel document anywhere on your computer.

4. Why are there two versions of the risk tracker available for download?

In order to demonstrate how the risk tracker might be used in practice, we have produced an example version of the tracker with sample content included.

5. How could the risk tracker be useful in my practice?

The risk tracker can be useful in a number of ways. It is flexible enough to be adapted to individual firm requirements.

For example, the tracker can be stored centrally and updated by a partner within the firm – this could be the Managing Partner, the Client Relations Partner or another Partner who is tasked with managing client risk. Ideally, all fee earners and staff would report any issue arising on the files or cases to this Partner, who would then complete the tracker. You may prefer to have the individual handlers complete their own entries for subsequent review by the supervising partner.

Alternatively, different Partners within a firm can use the tracker for their individual departments or teams. For instance, the Employment Partner might use it for all the fee earners working in his / her Employment Team.

6. What details do I need to include in the tracker?

We suggest you use the various headings as follows:

  • Matter Number” and “Matter Name” - include the relevant client matter details from the file.
  •  “Description” -  include a brief description of the matter
  • Risks and Issues Description” - include a description of the potential problem or problems that have arisen in this piece of work.
  •  “RAG Rating”, each risk can be given a RAG rating depending on the likelihood and the severity of the risk (see question 7 below).
  •  “Date Updated” - include the date that the issue was first logged in the tracker and give an update on any developments in the “Progress to Date” box.
  •  “Responsible Fee Earner” and “Responsible Partner”-  The details of fee earners involved can be included in these columns.  You can also include any comments from the lead partner in the “Responsible Partner Comments” box.
  •  “Mitigations / Next Steps” - you can provide a brief summary of how the firm intends to deal with the issue, as well as anything that might reduce the likelihood or impact of the risk.  
  • Next Review” – In final column, a date for review can be included.

This review could be a scheduled meeting, a call or a file review to monitor progress on the issue. This box will automatically turn amberon the day before the review date and redon the day after the review date.

7. What is the RAG rating?

You can give each of the issues included on the tracker a RAG rating (Red, Amber or Green) so that they can be prioritised.

8. How do I determine the RAG rating?

Based on the information available, you can make an assessment of:

  • How likely it is that things will go wrong (likelihood)
  • What the impact of this will be if things do go wrong (severity)

You can then follow the “RAG Assessment instructions” within the tracker to establish the RAG rating.