The Law Society has taken the unusual step of investing in a company set up by a non-lawyer law firm partner to sell a groundbreaking web-based risk and compliance software package for solicitors.
Riliance, which launched a year ago, is the brainchild of Brian Rogers, a legal risk and compliance specialist at Lewis Hymanson Small in Manchester and the first non-lawyer to join the council of Manchester Law Society.
The deal provides for the Society’s involvement in further development of the product and promotion of Riliance as part of the Law Society’s risk and compliance service.
Riliance grew out of an internal system Mr Rogers was building for Lewis Hymanson Small, and costs firms £150 a month to use. Though the company is totally separate from Lewis Hymanson Small, the firm is a client and two equity partners are shareholders. It also received investment at launch from Mark Gidge, former chief sales officer at Syscap, who then took on the role of chief executive of Riliance.
Law Society chief executive Des Hudson said that while some solicitors’ firms have developed bespoke support tools for the advent of compliance officers for legal practice and finance and administration (COLPs/COFAs), not all firms will have the resources to do this on their own.
“The Riliance online support product has been developed by experienced solicitors, with considerable expertise in compliance. It has already proven to be an effective tool, with good feedback from customers.
“Our stake in the company and marketing support will help Riliance to develop its product and service to solicitors more speedily. The Law Society will improve the support provided to our members by packaging the Riliance software with our other products. We will also ensure that the product continues to meet evolving regulatory requirements and our members’ needs. Our equity stake also means that our members will benefit from any increase in the company’s value.”
Mr Gidge added: “The strength of the Riliance product combined with the Law Society’s expertise in this area will ensure the availability to members of a first-class risk and compliance product suite that will significantly aid firms in becoming and remaining compliant.”