A non-lawyer partner at a Manchester law firm has developed what is claimed to be the first web-based risk and compliance software for the legal market and aims to reduce the burden on the compliance officers every law firm has to have under outcomes-focused regulation.
Brian Rogers, a legal risk and compliance specialist at Lewis Hymanson Small, was initially building an in-house system but realised it had commercial potential when a two-day monitoring visit from the Solicitors Regulation Authority was reduced to five hours after showing how the firm controlled its risk systems.
The firm also won a British Chamber of Commerce NW region Innovation through Technology Award for the system, which Mr Rogers said “supported my view that there was a commercial opportunity to be exploited”.
The software is now called Riliance and costs firms £150 a month to use. It was developed into a web-based product in partnership with bespoke software development company Primogen.
Riliance Software Ltd is totally separate from Lewis Hymanson Small, although the firm is a client and two current equity partners are shareholders “as a consequence of the time and resources they allowed me to utilise in developing the system”, Mr Rogers explained.
He said those who take on the role of compliance officer for legal practice could see their fee-earning capacity cut by half.
“Riliance can greatly reduce this burden and the system will not only instil a structured risk and compliance culture within the firm, it will considerably reduce the amount of time required to manage the data, produce the necessary reports and complete any SRA audit,” he said.
Riliance has also had investment from Mark Gidge, its new chief executive and former chief sales officer of Syscap. “I believe Riliance adds real value to firms who use it. It helps to engender a firm-wide culture of compliance and will help to reduce breaches of the SRA Handbook.”
He said they were speaking to major professional indemnity brokers with a view to explaining to insurers the benefits of the product.
The next step would be to use the system to offer a compliance service to other professions, he added.