The problem with compliance is there’s just so much to comply with.
Regulation is everywhere and the SRA doesn’t exactly make it simple – or the requirements easy to find.
Most firms, from sole practitioners to those bursting at the seams with lawyers, can’t do it all at once. Best to find your firm’s compliance priorities and map out how to tackle each one in turn.
If you don’t know where to start, here are our thoughts on beginning at the beginning.
The SRA Handbook outlines 10 principles, which are described as all-pervading. The principles signal a shift in the SRA’s interest from traditional conduct issues, to being equally (if not more) interested, in how firms are managed.
With this in mind, Allison Wooddisse, head of Practice Compliance at LexisNexis, suggests the top 10 compliance areas for sole practitioners and smaller firms to address are:
- Compliance failure process
- Risk management
- Compliance plan
- Financial management
- Client care
- Payment of interest
- Referral and fee sharing / commission and financial benefit
- Mortgage fraud
There are of course plenty of other important areas to think about, such as conflicts and confidentiality, complaints and introductions to third parties. Plus a raft of generic legislation and regulation about anti-money laundering, bribery and data protection – but if we went through all of that, this post wouldn’t help you get started at all!
We hope this list gives you a place to start. A window, if you like, on your compliance challenges.
But we have something more for you too.
Allison has produced the definitve guide to compliance for sole practitioners and smaller law firms, the Comply or Die White Paper.
Included in the white paper is a timetable for the first four months of compliance in 2013, with each of the most important areas represented. To give you a flavour, here’s the first two months:
To grab the full timetable, download the Comply or Die White Paper.
Join us back here for the Comply or Die series of blogs posts where we discuss what you need to do to become compliant in each of these ten areas.