Almost half of legal firms not prepared for SRA thematic reviews

Access LegalBy Legal Futures Associate Access Legal

A recent poll of legal practitioners and compliance officers has found that 44% do not feel their firm would be prepared if the SRA were to carry out a thematic review within 24 hours.

The poll, which was conducted by legal technology solutions provider Access Legal, also asked practitioners what their greatest compliance concerns are.

Anti-money laundering (AML) regulations came out on top with 79%.  Managing risk was the second most common response with 61%, while 37% said ensuring policies and procedures are up to date is a concern.

Due to the impact of the pandemic on working practices within the legal sector, monitoring compliance standards while people work from home made the top five concerns, with 23% indicating it is a worry.

Speaking on the results of the poll, Brian Rogers FCMI, regulatory director at Access Legal, says it is clear that some firms still don’t feel on top of their compliance obligations, which places their business, teams and clients at risk. Brian said;

“We know compliance keeps most firms up-at-night and it’s no easy task to stay on top of. Whereas the SRA won’t serve 24 hours’ notice to a firm before a review, the reality is if firms are on top of compliance, they should have no concerns about demonstrating it at short notice.

“It’s clear many firms are not currently in this position and it’s often time and knowledge of how to stay on top of compliance that are the biggest barriers. We know from a recent discussion that many firms want more guidance when it comes to compliance. But it’s also up to firms to ensure they are setting aside enough time to comply and develop this knowledge.”

Brian added that it is no surprise that AML continues to be the biggest concern for firms:

“AML has been at the top of the SRA’s agenda for some time. In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, new guidance has been released on AML – so for law firms you can see why it is their number one priority.

“The good news is that the poll acknowledges that firms understand the importance of it and want to take action to ensure compliance. Firms have to make sure they are tracking, recording and updating their regulatory compliance and obligatory business standards – the right tools and systems can make this more straightforward.”

For more information about Access Legal visit here.


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