Compliance Training

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Finding the right legal tech solutions

Going back 10 years, finding the right legal tech was fairly easy, as case management systems were probably the only legal tech solutions law firms had to buy. Now, there are so many different technological solutions, how do you find out what legal tech is out there, and which is the best for you?

Finding the right legal tech is getting easier as the Law Society and the SRA are doing a much better job at signposting firms who are interested in legal tech solutions. The SRA has now introduced SRA Sandbox, which isn’t just for tech firms, but also for law firms that want to know what’s available. However, there’s still more that can be done.  

Suppliers also need to help get the message out to law firms and advise them on what due diligence questions should be asked. In AML, regulators have actually put an obligation on law firms to ensure that they’ve understood exactly how their legal tech works, the data sources they’re accessing, and how it solves their problems.

At Teal, we not only want to provide law firms with reassurance that we’ve gone through all the rules and requirements they need to comply with, but we also want to ensure they’re aware that if they use a technological solution, it’s not just got to be compliant. It also has to be tangibly better than before.  

This article provides helpful advice and things to consider when you’re finding the right legal tech solution for your firm.

Understanding the problems

You need to start the process by asking yourself ‘why’. Why do you need to a find legal tech solution? What problems will it solve? It’s only by understanding the problems you face in the first place, that you can really start your journey to find the right legal tech solution for you.

We all know what pain points may lead you to consider legal tech, such as the business isn’t making enough money, it isn’t profitable enough, or you can’t turn around the process quickly enough.

Not only do you need to understand the problems, but also the goals which you’re trying to reach. It’s only when you fully understand your problems and your goals, that you can really focus your efforts on finding the right legal tech to fix them.

How to work out what the problems are

This doesn’t need to be a difficult or time consuming exercise. It’s actually incredibly simple. Firstly, split the work types and ask questions such as:

  • Who’s delivering this task – lawyers or support staff?
  • How is this being delivered internally at the moment?
  • Is it part of a workflow?
  • How many units are the lawyers spending on it?
  • Could it be delivered by technology?

Once you’ve done this, you’ll start to see exactly what’s required. For example, you’ll notice if a fee earner is spending 9 units doing something which could be done by technology without taking any time at all.

An exercise like this should only take an hour or two and provides you with quick visibility of what your problems might be.

Collaboration of skills

The phrase ‘built by lawyers for lawyers’ often gets criticism. However, having lawyers building tech means they can add a level of knowledge which can be essential. Software developers who don’t understand policy, processes, and regulations can find that side of it really difficult.

However, software developers without legal knowledge build for the user experience (UX), whether the legal tech is for the client, the lawyer, or both. That UX is extremely important if the legal tech is going to work.

This is why building software collaboratively is key. It needs diverse thought when looking at what data lawyers need and what consumers need.

Collaboration within your law firm is also of paramount importance. When finding the right legal tech solution, different stakeholders, such as IT, the MLRO, finance, and the lawyers, will all have different questions. You should try to involve all concerned early on in the process to ensure transparency and that nothing is missed.

It’s all about a collaborative and diverse approach to solving problems.

The importance of integration

Integration is fundamental. However, first and foremost, it’s about problem solving with interconnectedness.

A lot of people in the market are talking about having an interoperable framework that’s going to solve all their problems. However, when finding the right legal tech, as we’ve previously mentioned, you have to start by asking ‘Why’. If you just focus on integration, you may end up with a number of technology integrations rather than having an interconnective framework.

Therefore, rather than focusing on whether the software solution integrates, the focus should be on how they all fit together as a framework.

Integration is expanding beyond our legal horizons. In the conveyancing world there’s a lot going on with regard to upfront material information. Estate agents are now starting to service information that previously has been in a conveyancer’s file before a conveyancer has even been instructed. This leads to many additional questions about what regulatory environment it sits in and how we pass that in a confidential manner between parties, in addition to making sure all the various boxes are ticked.

This is something we see coming in lots of legal work types, and that will bring a lot of opportunities. In AML, we can remove duplication and enhance the checks we’re doing from a fraud risk point of view. This will make sure those barriers are in place earlier in the process, which should hopefully make everyone’s lives easier.

Questions to ask software providers

Many law firms don’t have a tech team in place. For these firms, knowing how to ensure buy-in success when they don’t necessarily have the tech knowledge is difficult.  

Depending on your problems and your goals, the questions will be different. You may be looking at a process for cost optimisation, or one to deliver an exceptional client experience.

Before you start, you may wish to consider instructing a consultant to help you with this. They should deliver value for money, so don’t be afraid to pay someone for advice if you don’t know the questions to ask.

The basic questions to consider asking include:

  • How much is it going to cost, per user, per seat per transaction?
  • What are the returns on investment going to be?
  • Who’s going to deal with any training – is that provided?
  • Who imports the data from old systems?
  • What security does it have – is it encrypted, where is the data stored, etc?
  • Is it a web app and if so, do lawyers and clients have to download it?
  • If it’s a web app, is it available on iOS and Android?

When finding the right legal tech solution, it can be really difficult to make those decisions. One thing you shouldn’t do is choose based on the fact that it’s working for another firm. As it’s all about finding the solution to your problems, what works for them, won’t necessarily work for you.

Therefore, once you’ve asked the basic questions, you really need to delve into the problems you have and get the suppliers to tell you exactly how the tech will meet your needs. By doing this, you’re more likely to find the right solution for you.

Get in touch

If you’d like to talk to us about our latest compliance legal tech, Teal Tracker, simply contact us and we’ll arrange for you to have a demo.

Communication, communication, communication.

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The legal industry can be a mixture of things, both good and not so good.   People tend to focus on the things that drive them, whether it’s the bottom line of fee income, helping clients or having to make what some people may see as ruthless decisions for the success of the business. However, I also see leaders in firms who consider people as their biggest asset, whether that is their staff, suppliers or their clients, and who lead by example and deal with making decisions in an ethical way.

There will always be occasions where decision makers in a firm and managers/supervisors must deliver difficult news.   It is often the case that is not the news itself that can leave individuals disappointed or upset, but the way that news was delivered.

Throughout my career I have always tried to put myself in the shoes of the person at the receiving end of the news, good or bad, and consider how that person may be feeling.   And key to that is wherever possible engage in face to face conversations.With the technology we have around us, I do think that we sometimes use it as a barrier to avoid these difficult conversations.  However, emails and instant messages can easily come across in a way that we didn’t intend, and where they have used them to “save time” can be counterproductive, leaving us to deal with the fall out from the miscommunication.   Worse still, I have seen individuals delegate the task to someone else who is clearly not equipped to handle such situations.

The key to successful communication is to have considered the best approach beforehand and considered the best interests of the recipient.   We may not always get it right, but this can be a great starting point.  We all hold the key to effective communication within our firm – have you revisited yours to make sure the key is used in the best way?

Conference time – full agenda now released

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The Teal Compliance and Lockton Conference 2018 takes place on the 26th April 2018 in London.  With so much change afoot in the world of compliance, the theme for this year’s conference is ‘Navigating a year of change’.

As a team we have all been working hard to pull together an agenda which covers all the key updates and provides perspectives from industry experts on practical application of the changes to regulations – from AML to GDRP to Code of Conduct.

The full agenda has now been released and you can read about it here

In addition the whole of the Teal Team will be available throughout the the day and many of our associates will be leading speaking session, alongside high profile external speakers from the world of risk, compliance, insurance and regulation.

The aim of the Conference is to prepare you for the year of change and to challenge you in terms of thinking about risk and compliance.   There are firms who are taking unnecessary risks by not having sufficient “know how” or resources.  This is of course something that Team Teal can assist you with.

The speakers on the day will guide you through a series of perspectives from a risk/insurance point of view to GDPR and Cyber Crime. Panel Discussions will take place and will provide you with the opportunity to ask questions and the Team will be available after the Event to follow up on any requirements.

Early Bird tickets are on sale from now until the 18th March and are available here.

Teal Compliance – what’s in a name

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Yesterday we launched our new business, Teal Compliance. If you’ve ever met me in person you will have seen there is an unmistakable affiliation with the colour. It is always about my person somewhere, bags, clothes, hats, jewellery.

Why do we like certain colours? I’ve not done any research, I am sure lots of people have a view, tested scientifically. For me it is an instinct. I have green eyes and it’s always been my favourite, but over time, I’ve been drawn to Teal.

I had a hard start to my career in Law, in at the deep end, little support and huge responsibility. It was scary! I survived and thrived post qualification in a well run firm, with proper support. A firm wanting to do well by its clients and its people.

Whilst fee earning remained high pressured, I learnt over time to deal with these pressures, by communicating, sharing, and ensuring I tackled problems head on, pushing myself sometimes outside my comfort zone.

Teal to me is a calming, reassuring colour. It is that combination between green and blue. Green, a forest, strong and supportive. Blue, the ocean, fluid and adaptable, sometimes dramatic, sometimes soothing.

It is fashionable at the moment; but my love of Teal is long standing, it will endure because it represents who I am, who my team are.

Our clients, like their own clients are often concerned when they need our help, they are worried about the risks their businesses face, they are keen to be compliant, to make sure the rules they have to follow are manifested in their procedures, sometimes things have gone wrong and they need support to sort it out.

We bring calm, sensible and practical support, not bling, but not dull either! We are sturdy, dependable, but adaptable, fluid, to meet the needs of our clients. We offer frank appraisals and real life experience (I think over 100 years combined so far), we know your business, we’ve run law firms, we’ve done fee earning, we’ve managed people, we run financially stable businesses of our own. We are that rare breed of compliance professionals that know what it’s like to walk in your shoes.

If there is something troubling you, your compliance to do list is nagging at you, then get in touch for a chat and we’ll let you know how we can help.