Our complaints policy

At Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, we are committed to providing high quality legal service to all our clients. We encourage a workplace culture which embraces accountability and opportunities for continuous improvement. If you believe for any reason that we have failed to meet our commitments, we need you to tell us about it. It is important to us that you are given the opportunity to explain your position so that we can understand the situation and consider your point of view. This will help us to address your concerns and improve our business practices and levels of client care.

Our complaints procedure

1. If you have a complaint about or are dissatisfied with our service, our client care, any invoice issued to you or any other issue relating to our work for you, please contact Debra Erni our Client Care Partner. Ms. Erni may be contacted by whichever method is more convenient to you:

(a) by telephone on +44 (0)20 7847 9500;

(b) by email to [email protected]; or

(c) by writing to her at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Tower 42, Level 23, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ.

2. If, at this stage, you have not already provided us with details, please provide an outline of your complaint and confirm your up-to-date contact information (e.g. telephone number, email, correspondence address). In doing so, you give us permission to record details about your complaint in our complaints register and, where appropriate, to report data relating to complaints to our regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

3. If your complaint involves our fees or other charges, you may also have a right to apply to the court for an assessment of our invoice(s) under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.

What will happen next?

1. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint together with a copy of this procedure. At this time we may also ask you to provide us with additional information and/or materials to make sure we accurately understand your concerns and to find out whether you are seeking a particular remedy. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint. Save in exceptional cases, we aim to send our acknowledgement letter to you within five working days of receiving your complaint. If we have a current email address for you, we may send the letter by email instead of by post, and ask that you acknowledge receipt of the letter.

2. We will record your complaint in our complaints register and open a matter file for your complaint. The matter file will remain open until the complaint is resolved or all internal and external review options are finalised. We will maintain a record of the various stages of the complaints procedure including correspondence and documents we send or receive from you within our file. This may be in paper or electronic form.

3. We aim to complete our investigation within 21 days of receiving your complaint or, where applicable, of you providing any additional information and other materials to us. In rare instances, for example where the complaint is based on very complex circumstances, we may need additional time, in which case we will contact you and agree to a realistic and fair timeframe.

4. We will then conduct an investigation which will enable us to assess your complaint in an objective and fair way. This will normally involve our Client Care Partner, or her designee, discussing your complaint with your Client Partner, the lawyers and any other professionals who worked on your matter and any other related personnel, examining the relevant files, correspondence and documentation, and considering all of the relevant circumstances including all of the information and materials which you provided to us.

5. Once we have completed our investigation and assessed your complaint, we will contact you and invite you to meet with the Client Care Partner, or her designee, to discuss any suggestions we have for resolving your complaint. If you do not want to meet in person, or it is not possible to meet face to face, we will write to you with our suggestions for resolving the matter. In some cases it may be appropriate to discuss the matter with you over the telephone as well.

6. The Client Care Partner, or her designee, will confirm our understanding of your complaint, outline the steps we have taken to investigate and assess your complaint, advise you of our findings, and outline any steps we propose to take in resolving the matter.

7. At this stage, if you are not satisfied with the resolution we have proposed, you can contact us again. We will then arrange an additional review. We will choose one of the two options below and advise you of the option selected:

(a) We will arrange for another partner in the firm who has not previously been involved in your complaint (and did not work on your matter) to review the complaint and propose a resolution within 10 working days; or

(b) We will ask our local Law Society or another firm of solicitors to review your complaint and make recommendations. If we choose this option, we will let you know how long this process will take.

8. We will write to you to let you know the result of any such further review within five working days following our receipt of the recommendations from the additional review. We will also confirm our final position on your complaint and explain our reasons. We may also invite you to participate in independent mediation in which case we will let you know how long that process is likely to take, its terms and how feedback from the mediation will be given.

9. If you are still not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, or if it has not been resolved to your satisfaction within eight weeks after you first notified us of your complaint, you may be entitled to ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the matter. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman by post (PO Box 15870, Birmingham B30 9EB); via this website (www.legalombudsman.org.uk); by telephone (0300 555 0333); and by email ([email protected]) to ask him to consider your complaint. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within twelve months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. Not all clients are entitled to have their case considered by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman only considers complaints from individuals and small businesses, charities and associations. We are happy to provide further details of the criteria applied by the Legal Ombudsman on request. The Legal Ombudsman can ask to see our records relating to any complaint which it investigates.

10. You should be aware that the Legal Ombudsman may not consider your complaint if you have applied for an assessment of our fees and charges under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.

Other information

1. We strive to ensure that our complaints procedure is easy for all clients to access and understand.

2. We always seek to address any complaint in a prompt, fair, open, equitable, objective and unbiased manner, with decisions based on a sufficient investigation of all the circumstances giving rise to the complaint.

3. If English is not your first language, or if you have any other needs which we should consider in order to help you understand our procedure and to enable us to deal with your complaint, please let us know immediately.

4. We are open to feedback including complaints and are committed to resolving complaints by taking action where appropriate. We use central monitoring techniques to enable us to capture lessons learnt and implement improvements to our client care standards through training and other tools.

5. We will not make a charge for considering any complaint.

6. In considering any complaint, we will (subject to applicable law) preserve the confidentiality of any confidential information received from you during the complaints procedure and will only make personally identifiable information about you or (where applicable) your employees available where needed in order to address the complaint with the relevant practice group or as otherwise appropriate.

7. We are committed to keeping you updated on the progress of your complaint. If for any reason you feel that you have not been kept up-to-date, please do not hesitate to raise this with the Client Care Partner.

We will seek to ensure that any remedy offered to you is appropriate in the circumstances of your complaint.