We all know how important compliance is to law firms. A failure to meet regulatory obligations can lead to fines, loss of insurance, reputational damage, and even closure. And, of course, individual lawyers face fines, disbarment, and criminal prosecution for specific non-compliance acts.
As the requirements placed on lawyers become ever greater, and the SRA gets more uncompromising in its treatment of firms that do not have solid systems and controls, the role of compliance becomes more and more complex. For many in-house teams, finding the time and resources to provide advice, support, monitoring, reporting, and training is exceptionally tricky. But, while adopting a proactive approach towards risk management doesn’t come easy, firms will fall short of their obligations without a robust compliance culture.
Fortunately, outsourced compliance training can help solicitors and licenced conveyancers to abide by the ever-changing regulatory framework. Here are just some ways using a compliance training partner can prove beneficial.
Compliance slips through the cracks if firms do not have consistent, accurate, and up-to-date training in place. But for in-house teams battling with a wealth of compliance tasks, making sure training is continually and accurately updated to reflect any regulatory developments – and that staff understand the impact of such changes on their day-to-day responsibilities – is not easy.
When firms appoint outsourced compliance professionals, they can be confident that training will be assessed and updated regularly, with new modules continually added to reflect the changing regulatory landscape. Moreover, rather than just providing an overview of the regulations, professional trainers will focus on the practical implications to ensure staff understand what they must do when dealing with client matters.
Furthermore, in addition to more standard training, where required, a professional partner will tailor learning to the types and complexities of roles within your organisation (this includes ensuring your compliance staff have the proper compliance training).
Identify and address compliance gaps
Firms can find it hard to determine if the correct steps have been taken in regard to compliance issues. It’s not always easy to spot if individual lawyers operate outside of the rules – either because they do not fully understand the risk or because they want to keep on their clients’ good side.
When appointing a compliance trainer, some firms choose to begin with a Risk & Compliance review to find out where the gaps are. Armed with this information, the consultant suggests steps to minimise the level of risk before creating a customised training programme tailored to the needs, problem areas, employees, and technical requirements of the firm.
Overcome employee resistance
In-house compliance teams that devise and deliver training often complain about a lack of employee buy-in. Lawyers can view compliance as a burden and this friction leads to resistance when it comes to training.
Compliance experts don’t always make the best teachers. Training requires a unique blend of knowledge, communication skills, confidence, and rapport-building. So, even with the best will in the world, in-house experts are not always the right people to train others. And the truth is, many of those involved in training roles would rather not be.
Experts who provide outsourced training tend to know how to harness enthusiasm. A bespoke face-to-face training session usually begins with a scoping call or meeting to determine a suitable framework, and to share real-life examples or procedures. Good providers then create live training materials which are then used based on the firm’s needs and what the firm is looking to address. Engaging audiences with a stimulating mix of formats, such as real-life scenarios and gamification, ensure that they stay engaged and prevents them from becoming inattentive.
Overcome time constraints
Most legal professionals agree that there is too much to do and not enough time to do it. So, compliance training – while necessary- can seem like a burden. With busy schedules and heavy caseloads, regular onsite training isn’t always possible.
We recommend a variety of delivery methods, including webinars, online modules, and face-to-face training. And a combination of standard and bespoke learning. As well as delivering the best results, this approach ensures that staff receive thorough and effective training without impacting their workload too much.
Staff stay compliant
With hybrid-working no longer a thought for the future, it is important for firms to be able to help staff train in a way that not only suits a more flexible working policy, but also one that can be effective. Bite-sized modules delivered through a unique training platform, created especially for the legal sector, that can be accessed at a convenient time is the way to go.
Legal Eye’s online Academy is delivered in 30 and 60-minute segments, online training can be done at a time and in a location that suits each participant, with required actions ready to use as soon as they return to their everyday work. Not only does this approach save significant amounts of time, but with online delivery and digital record keeping, it also significantly reduces the admin burden. Our online Academy can even be set up to issue automatic reminders to the members to complete their training. A series of quizzes undertaken at the end of modules provides a check that staff and lawyers have understood and digested the key points – increasing the likelihood of everyone being able to apply the required measures in practice.
Demonstrate a commitment to compliance
Learning falls short if you cannot track its success. So, in addition to the training itself, an outsourced professional will monitor attendance and the achievement of agreed learning objectives, and provide a report of these findings. Supplying all the documentation and evidence you need to show that your firm has a robust understanding of compliance, a commitment to its implementation, and the correct processes to ensure and track its delivery. Training in compliance is not just about making sure you meet your regulatory obligations. An investment in training goes a long way in helping staff retention, developing good culture and helping firms adapt to change as and when they need to.
When we work with all our law firms, we come with an independent and impartial view on your current processes and procedures. Legal Eye’s dedicated Academy coupled with both on-site and online bespoke training, can really help make sure your firm has its compliance covered. Find out how we can help create efficiencies and engage your staff in all aspects of risk and compliance. Get in touch today for an initial chat about how we can help.
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