Practising certificate holders who are subject to the statutory condition of supervised legal practice and who are supervised remotely for all or part of their practice are asked to consider the remote supervision guidelines below.
Applicants who have previously provided a remote and/or external supervision plan to the Law Society should note this in their application to remove condition 2.
When the supervisor and supervisee are employed by the same law practice/entity and work flexibly
Practitioners subject to the statutory condition of supervised legal practice (condition 2) and who work flexibly should consider an internal remote supervision plan with their supervisor. Such plans do not need to be submitted to the Law Society for consideration. We do, however, encourage practitioners to retain a copy of this plan for any future application to remove condition 2 from their practising certificate.
Where a supervisor and supervisee practise exclusively remotely and/or with different law practices/entities
Where a practitioner seeks to be supervised exclusively remotely or external to their employer, they must submit a remote supervision plan for consideration by the Licensing Department. Practitioners will need to closely consider whether the arrangements satisfy section 6 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) (Uniform Law) and rule 7 of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 (NSW) (General Rules).
Such remote supervision arrangements can include circumstances where the supervisor is located in another Australian jurisdiction and holds an interstate Australian practising certificate authorising them to supervise the legal practice of others.
To assist and protect both supervised and supervising practitioners in meeting their obligations under the Unform Law, the following matters should be contemplated in preparing either an internal remote supervision plan, or a remote/external supervision plan:
- Details as to the relationship, experience and role of the supervisor/supervisee;
- How risk management strategies will be affected (e.g. confidentiality, conflicts of interest, client retainers/cost disclosure, complaint procedures, onboarding of clients, file opening/closing procedures, etc);
- Carefully consider any conflicts that arise as a result of any remote and/or external supervision plan;
- How regular meetings between the supervisor and supervisee will be effected (e.g. by way of teleconference or an online video platform);
- How the supervisor will be available for contact at all other times with an “open door policy” (e.g. by way of daily contact, email, telephone, an online video and message platform, etc);
- How the supervisor will affect workflow management and have authority over and be aware of all legal work/instructions/critical dates (e.g. by way of cc’ing the supervisor on legal work, shared calendar system, etc);
- How the supervisor will review and approve or provide feedback for all legal work prior to emission, and may include dialling into meetings where advice may be furnished;
- How file and document sharing logistics will be managed (e.g. email, shared system, post, safe custody, file notes, etc);
- How the supervisor will conduct regular file reviews; and
- How the Law Society of NSW will be notified of any changes in the supervision arrangements.