Quality in the legal practice has always been an important point of special interest for me, and it still is. In the time that I was a member of the Raad voor Rechtsbijstand ‘s-Hertogenbosch (‘s-Hertogenbosch Legal Aid Board) I remember a fierce discussion among a number of members of the Board. We, the lawyers, were advocating an increase of the fee for subsidised legal aid, to which the other members replied that a request like that should be accompanied by an offer to provide verifi able quality. Following that discussion, at a quality congress in London in 1999, the idea originated to start a co-operation of lawyer’s offi ces within a quality foundation. This became the Foundation Viadicte. Thus the first lawyer’s offices joined forces to improve quality under the motto: Together and Guided.
Together because, based on a series of study meetings, we wanted to obtain insight into all aspects that are part of thinking about quality within the lawyer’s offices and subsequently we wanted to prioritise these aspects. Guided because we were going to call in experts, both on a regular basis and ‘ad hoc’. In short, a group process in which we were guided by experts who would support the representatives of the offi ces in their occasionally difficult mission within their own ranks. The liaison officers had to be produced and trained. Thus, in the summer of 2002 the quality group started its activities. The efforts entailed that the professional group itself took the initiative and the responsibility to define and make lawyer’s quality recognisable. All this would not have been possible, however, without a substantial contribution from the Ministry of Justice and the ‘s-Hertogenbosch Legal Aid Board.

Guido Schakenraad
Chairman Foundation Viadicte,
November 2009

  • A framework of standards has been written on the basis of ‘best practices’, ISO 9001, the INK model and an abundance of existing material at NOvA. This framework represents a set of criteria, and you should make agreements concerning these with your colleagues. Taken as a whole, these agreements actually constitute your quality policy and risk management system. Viadicte makes use of external auditors (Pricewaterhouse Coopers) who evaluate on the basis of an integrated evaluation programme.

  • With the use of software application, lawyer’s offices can anonymously compare their financial housekeeping with that of other offices. Thus they can obtain insight into the financial position of their own office in comparison with comparable offices in the fields of, for instance, staff expenses, library expenses, turnovers, sickness leave and so on.

  • An extensive survey like the Intomart-surveys only has to be conducted once every four years. In the meantime the offices measure client satisfaction by means of concise evaluations, comparable to the evaluations that must be filled in after courses and congresses. Foundation Viadicte offers example forms to conduct such concise surveys.

  • Law practices that have a permanent quality policy receive a Met Recht Tevreden (‘justifiably satisfied’) seal of approval from Viadicte. The seal of approval signifies that your practice complies with the requirements with regard to know-how, integrity and office operations. Moreover, the seal-of-approval programme promotes efficiency and streamlining within your organisation.