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See the results of what you told us about Risk Management

In 2015 and 2016, Law Mutual (WA):

  • polled over 2,200 insured practitioners to identify their view of priority professional liability risks and what is being done to control them

  • analysed over 190 claims for the period 2011-2014 to understand key causes and how claims might correlate to practice size and area of law

The findings show:

  • general consensus on key risks across all phases of a matter
  • smaller and mid-sized firms have a disproportionately large number of claims, particularly mid-sized firms (6-9 practitioners)
  • five areas of law account for 86% of claims
  • small and mid-sized firms account for 76% of claims
  • large firms (over 10 practitioners) have a stronger formal control environment over key risk areas with a corresponding lower claims record
  • the best performing firm size with respect to claims (10-15 practitioners) also have the highest uptake of critical controls
  • practitioners with greater years in practice are more concerned about matter and client screening, and relationship management, while less experienced (based on years of practice only) practitioners are more concerned about the quality of service delivery and close out

The findings support a risk management strategy focused on:

  • addressing the specific needs of different cohorts of firms and practitioners: by firm size, areas of practice and experience
  • progressively addressing topics identified in claims and risk profiling as of highest concern
  • developing a more comprehensive approach to supporting insured practices through control guidance, education and in-house support to address key risks, their causes and control weaknesses

To implement this strategy, Law Mutual (WA) is developing risk management services with the following features:

  • A prioritised education schedule, focused on a series of risk themes that reflect the observed risk concerns among Law Mutual (WA)’s insureds
  • Special attention given to those cohorts (both firm size and specialty) that analysis shows to have particular exposure with regards to the risk in focus
  • Seminars and other educational material will adopt a uniform approach as to how professional liability risk management is described and applied
  • Continual surveying and polling of insureds to understand their risk concerns and ensure that control guidance developed by Law Mutual (WA) is fit for purpose and reflects best current practice
  • Ongoing development and publication of Law Mutual (WA) control sets for risks in focus, with targeted control sets for small, medium and large firms, and other cohorts that require them
  • Newly developed Practice Management Guidelines and Matter Management Guidelines will provide insureds a comprehensive set of principles to control professional liability risks at both a practice and matter level
  • In house review and support for some firms, against Law Mutual (WA) Practice and Matter Management Guidelines and relevant risk control sets

For further details, please read the full report.

Wills, Estates and Probate

Law Mutual (WA) is continuing to see a growing number of claims and notifications in the wills, estates and probate areas. Set out below are some references that may assist practitioners as they offer these services to clients.

Preparation of wills

  • Legal Profession Conduct Rules 2010 R 15(5) – drawing a will
  • Hutley’s Australian Wills Precedents contains a comprehensive discussion on the lawyer’s role in all aspects of wills, including precedent clauses, discussion on capacity, execution, binding the will, retaining the will
  • Wills Probate and Administration Service (WA) section on Wills Act 1970 (note especially, marriage/divorce/informal wills)
  • Law Society of NSW Guideline When a client’s capacity is in doubt, which is of general relevance, but is especially useful for capacity questions for wills, enduring powers of attorney/guardianship


  • Wills Probate and Administration Service (WA), has a section on Uncontested Probate Applications which includes precedents, forms and checklists for a wide range of applications  including  grants of probate and administration
  • Wills Probate and Administration Service (WA) covers all other aspects of probate and administration, including legislation, rules and commentary

There is a most informative article by the Hon Eric Heenan QC, a former Judge of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, entitled 'Nature of evidence and presumptions in probate actions' that was published in the July 2016 issue of Brief.

Get to know your Law Mutual (WA)

Jodi Fear, Risk & Administration Officer

Jodi Fear, our Risk & Administration Officer, joined the Law Society and started in Law Mutual (WA) in July 2015. Jodi has been in the insurance industry for over 20 years, working in many fields including Property, ISR, Specialty Risks and online insurance products (eBusiness) – including a secondment to the Philippines. Outside of work Jodi is an avid softball player, participating at the International Masters Games as well as the Australian Masters Games for the last seven years – that is Master by age and not by ability.

Contact Law Mutual (WA)

Street Address: Level 4, 160 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000
Postal Address: PO Box Z5345, Perth WA 6831

Telephone:  (08) 9481 3111   |   Facsimile:  (08) 9481 3166
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