Thursday, 7 April 2011

Get a Grip

Every lawyer in the UK would recognise that one of the stark new realities facing Partners within law firms across the UK is a dramatic increase in the risk of significant liabilities that can affect their firms.

High profile cases against lawyers in connection with Money Laundering and other forms of fraud are a clear reminder of the potential vulnerability of law firms to the actions or mistakes of individual partners and their support staff. Yesterday’s article in the FT Adviser Fraudsters 'played musical chairs' with lawyers highlights such a case.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the risks facing law firms are limited the problem of criminal activity.

The commoditisation of certain areas of law, especially in the field of conveyancing, has resulted in the slow but gradual extinction of qualified lawyers from residential conveyancing. The net result is poor quality work the knock on effect that negligence claims will inevitably start to emerge.

Traditionally, law firms relied on a common culture and shared sense of quality standards among their partners to address these issues. And, in a time when
firms were relatively small and when partners were "home grown," learning their craft from senior Lawyer who mentored them, the system worked well enough.
Today, the situation is far different.

To become ‘risk averse’ a Law firms now need to focus on technology to supplement the lack of technical knowledge as well as enable them to have to auditing functionality to see who within their firm is “pushing the envelope” .

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