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Strategic compliance: Create a law firm culture of risk management

Place your COLP in your management team to embed risk management in your law firm, says Angela Robertson

18 February 2014

The emerging landscape of regulatory-driven requirements has introduced new challenges to traditional law firm structures in the UK. Outcomes-focused regulation brings a shift in emphasis from prescriptive rules-driven compliance to a more flexible client-centred approach. It encourages decision making based on judgement and promotes the operation of effective systems and controls appropriate to the risks faced by a law firm. This of course assumes that the law firm is equipped, through its internal compliance function, to influence and implement any required changes.

Established risk and compliance teams are fairly embedded in law firm structures, although the role of the general counsel is a relatively new addition. Up until recently, clients did not expect their external advisers to have a general counsel. But, they now recognise the GC as a key individual in defining the firm’s approach to risk and com...

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