As we approach the festive period following what can only be described as to quote the Queen an "annus horribilis", it has been a time for reflection, thankful for what we have, sad for what we have lost and a combination of fear and hope for 2021.
This year, we have worked with many law firms and there has been an emerging trend that compliance has fallen to the wayside. This is not a criticism; it is a reality and in all situations, there are those firms who have faired well. Those are the firms where survival of the fittest came into it is true meaning with those firms being well managed.
The world changed and we were forced into a world of remote working, which came with its own risks. There were firms who embraced it, because their systems and processes were there, whilst they may not have been perfect, they were off the starting blocks. It became a relay, with teamwork being essential to ensure that firms survived. Firms were firefighting, and continue to do so, dealing with the next fire they need to put out.
The problem is that there are lots of smouldering fires, and it could be one of those small ones which sets your firm alight to the point of no return. This is the risk of non-compliance. All it needs is that small ember (firebrand) that is the greatest threat.
The new year is the time to act and get your firm in order. We talk about new year's resolutions and a lot of people carry out a "spring clean" in the new year to start the year afresh. Why should a firm be any different? There has been a period of limbo due to Covid-19 and unfortunately, we are not out the woods yet, despite hopes with the vaccine. You will undoubtedly spend the first quarter of the year having to re-adjust your business plans and business continuity BUT you have a plan. Once you have that plan you can tweak it.
It is easy to say that you must not lose sight of compliance and compliance is often seen as an obstacle that stops you from doing something. The biggest obstacle is if you do not keep up to date and you run the risk of the embers flaring and taking you firm down to the foundations. Foundations of our firms are essential, keep them solid, keep your firm safe, keep your employees in jobs and keep delivering that client service that you want to continue to do.
There is no shame if your firm has let compliance slip, such as no file reviews, complaints that may not have been dealt with or in the way they should have, lack of supervision, well-being of staff etc. However, if you ignore the situation you are in (if you are aware) then that is a different matter.
The regulators are focusing on firms that are falling down on their compliance and regulatory obligations, please do not let that firm be you.
By acting now and giving yourself the peace of mind that you know you are not where you should be with compliance, but are seeking assistance, then we are sure you will have a better night's sleep. Fear of the unknown can be debilitating. We can undertake an audit for you, test your policies and procedures and engage with staff. If you would like to arrange a 30-minute free zoom call with our consultant, book now by email or phone to email@example.com / 0333 242 3993
We are here to help keep you, your firm, and your clients safe and supported.