Improve legal risk management and compliance: How midsize law firms can continue to thrive in a post-pandemic market

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Despite an uncertain economy brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent Thomson Reuters report* revealed that midsize law firms are currently well positioned for success. During the last year, midsize law firms have increased demand, maintained productivity, and experienced lower turnover overall than small and large firms.

Part of the reason that midsize law firms are currently thriving is that they aren’t usually subject to the vagaries of the market in the same way that larger firms are. For example, many large firms must constantly keep up with their competitors by matching associate salaries and perks. Additionally, midsize firms are less siloed than large firms since they have smaller and fewer departments — making information-sharing and cross-functional collaboration much easier.

Most importantly, more and more lawyers are growing tired of being “another cog in the wheel” at large firms, which often offer limited client contact. Instead, these lawyers want to take on decision-making roles at midsize firms which provide more direct and meaningful client engagement. This higher-level, engagement-centric work lets lawyers bring their full talents and value to the table and helps them feel more fulfilled in their work. As a result, they are more likely to remain at their firms.

Mitigating risk and compliance within a midsize firm

Of course, there are still plenty of challenges that midsize law firms need to overcome if they wish to remain well positioned for success. Risk and compliance, for example, remains a complex area that firm leaders struggle to properly address. Oftentimes, midsize firms lack the resources to properly manage compliance for the numerous matters they work on, while a general lack of knowledge around the evolving best practices for due diligence increases the risk of accepting unfavorable clients.

The American Bar Association (ABA) also amended Comment 8 to Model Rule 1.1, which now requires that lawyers keep abreast with the capabilities of available technology and ensure its use will properly serve their clients; furthermore, lawyers must be competent in actually using that technology, and must ensure compliance with all other ethical responsibilities. By failing to implement or properly use suitable available technology, lawyers put their clients’ data at risk and may unintentionally run afoul of the ethics guidelines.

Midsize law firms therefore need to carefully examine the full range of options for legal risk management and compliance technology as part of the process in investing in new systems to ensure that all requirements are met and to support their goals. However, not all systems on the market meet these criteria, especially if firms want to go above and beyond basic requirements and functionality.

Many midsize firms want risk and compliance tools that are equal or superior to those used by larger firms, and that will provide the same qualitative analysis and protection that large firms often enjoy. Tools that are industry-specific — like OnePlace Risk & Compliance — can help midsize firms meet their unique needs while also providing advanced capabilities that will help them remain competitive in the industry.

The return on investment for risk and compliance products

OnePlace Risk & Compliance, a cloud-based and AI-powered Intapp suite, can help your firm improve conflicts clearance, mitigate risk, and ensure compliance throughout the client lifecycle. Like all Intapp products, OnePlace Risk & Compliance was designed by experts who have a deep understanding of the unique characteristics, complexities, and challenges of midsize law firms. Clients can count on Intapp technology to meet their specific needs that other generic solutions fail to address.

Intapp has been serving law firms from more than 20 years. We work closely with our client base and continually solicit feedback to learn more about their expectations, challenges, and changes in the industry. By actively listening and keeping up with industry trends, we’re able to continuously update and improve our cloud products to reflect best current practices and evolve with our clients’ growing needs.

Although costs associated with investing in new technology are often a concern for firm leadership, the return on investment for advanced tools such as OnePlace Risk & Compliance is significant. Throughout their lifetime, these tools can substantially reduce the need for non-knowledge work associated with admin processes, and by largely automating administrative tasks such as new business intake, your firm can onboard clients and accept new engagements more quickly. Additionally, by leveraging advanced AI-powered tools, your firm can reduce the risk of human error and better determine which clients and matters are problematic or profitable.

Additionally, investing in modern technology is a great way to attract and retain talent. If The Great Resignation has shown us anything, it’s that professionals expect more from the organizations they work for. This includes investing in tools that will support professionals in their roles.

Lawyers and legal professionals also want to grow in their careers rather than do the same menial, time-consuming tasks each day. Legal risk management and compliance tools lessen the administrative burden across your teams, giving both your fee earners and professionals more time to focus on high-value, strategic, qualitative work. They also gain more time to reflect on new ways to improve processes, analyze and leverage data, and better serve clients — all of which will help your firm grow and be better prepared for the future.

Remain competitive in a changing industry

Midsize law firms need to examine the lifecycle of all their work and ensure that all standards and requirements are continually being met. Properly equipped with the right software, your firm can successfully and efficiently manage risk and compliance throughout every stage of the client relationship lifecycle to improve the overall performance of your firm.

By leveraging advanced risk and compliance technology, your midsize law firm can focus on what really matters: growing your business, meeting your clients’ increasing and evolving expectations, and remaining competitive in the industry.

Schedule a demo to learn more about how OnePlace Risk & Compliance can help your firm turn risk and compliance management into a competitive advantage.

*The 2022 Report on the State of the Midsize Legal Market from Thomson Reuters, which summarizes data from 168 U.S.–based law firms

Written by:

Bryn Bowen

Practice Group Leader, Legal Risk

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