Auditing Services – The Detail
Auditing solutions from qualified staff that understand law firm processes and procedures and can integrate into the firm and understand the services it offers.
Auditing within a law firm is an essential element of risk and compliance including evidencing a robust approach to regulation management.
The failure of a firm to undertake auditing is a weakness. The failure to audit or to capture the audits and supervision the firm undertakes prevents the firm from being able to demonstrate how it manages and controls risks and complies with the regulation.
This in turn exposes the firm to an allegation of lack of supervision or control that can have an impact on SRA investigations and Insurance premiums.
Our Specialist Auditing Team
At The Strategic Partner, we have a team of law firm auditors who have worked within law firms as fee earners and managers across most, if not all legal services. The result is that we provide high quality outsource auditing functions that are responsive and add value every step of the way.
Independent audits are often seen as more effective due to their impartiality. Each of the audits we provide comes with a detailed report analysing the results of the audit, identifying issues, and provides solutions for the firm to consider.
Our auditing services will include: –
- Anti Money Laundering – The failure to implement robust anti-money laundering procedures is a risk to any law firm. With almost every client that arrives at a firm requiring initial and ongoing AML checks, firms are often exposed to failure to adhere to the regulations and risking investigation by the SRA or other authorities. It is also a requirement of The Anti-Money Laundering Regulations to independently assess and audit the firm’s anti-money laundering policies and approach. Our services involve both file lead audits alongside, staff interviews to ensure that each matter and member of staff engaged in the delivery of legal services is compliant with the firm’s requirements and the anti-money laundering regulations.
- Regulation and Compliance – It is an expectation of the Solicitors Regulation Authority for firms to be able to evidence their compliance with the regulation. Firms will have a range of policies that direct their staff on how to conduct themselves when performing their role. It is essential that a firm is able to demonstrate compliance with the firm’s approach and policies and auditing is a way of achieving this. Through understanding how a firm operates and the policies it has adopted to ensure compliance, we will audit your firm and staff against them through file reviews and staff interviews to establish a method of operation and compliance that evidences approach and identifies issues for resolution.
- Risk Assessments – Every law firm faces risk due to the nature and often complexity of the services they offer and the regulation they work under. We will provide audits that focus on risk assessments to ensure that staff are undertaking effective risk assessment on matters at the outset, throughout, and in conclusion. Failure to undertake effective risk assessments is a weakness in any firm. Having a robust process for risk assessments and evidencing its application through auditing, is a strength for both managing the SRA and proving to Professional Indemnity Insurers that risk is a subject the firm takes seriously. An effective solution for risk assessment management will save the firm time and money by avoiding expensive investigations and helping to manage insurance premiums.
- Supervision and Processes – Firms have a series of processes from how they deliver service, comply with regulation, manage risk, control data, and manage their staff. Each one of these processes needs to be implemented effectively and through active monitoring, the firm can evidence how the firm is supervised and controlled, alongside ensuring the requirements are highlighted on a regular basis. Supervision and Process audits require an assessment against each of the firm’s internal requirements and reviewing the processes adopted by staff and supervisors to manage their work in accordance with the set down processes.
- Equality and Diversity – An essential element of a firm’s structure is to ensure that it operates in a way that encourages inclusion and embraces equality and diversity. This is an ongoing issue that firms must respond to as times change and is not just a requirement it is an expectation. Our Equality and Diversity audits will combine reviewing the overall structure of the firm with speaking to individuals in the firm to understand how they feel this important area is addressed. This insightful process enables firms to understand how they operate and comply with equality and diversity requirements and provide solutions to respond to any issues.
- Quality Assessments – Law firms have a range of quality kitemarks including but not limited to Lexcel, IIP, CQS, WICS, SQM. Each of these has a requirement to demonstrate compliance with the firm’s policies and service delivery through auditing. As part of the audit programme provided, we will ensure that any audit is compliant with the relevant quality kitemark whether an audit specifically addresses the needs of the quality assessment, or as part of a wider audit programme. Through our auditing, we will ensure that you have the necessary auditing to meet the requirements of your quality kitemark.
- Supervision and Performance – Supervision and performance is an essential element to the effective management of a law firm and a regulatory requirement. Despite most firms having an approach to supervision and performance, these are not always followed by supervisors and their staff with the result being an ineffective process for managing and supervising staff. An audit of the implementation of the firm’s policies not only evidences that supervision and performance are being managed, but it keeps the requirement at the required level to ensure the necessary interaction by supervisors is maintained. This is an effective audit that assesses the firm’s requirements against reality and provides firms with an insight into areas of improvement to ensure there is a consistent approach firm-wide.
Law Firms can take isolated audits to choose from the menu above or they can build an annual audit profile across a range of audits.
Audits can be provided on a half-day or daily basis and we can perform these onsite or remotely, depending on the systems you operate.
Our approach is to deliver an auditing solution that works for your firm and is as integrated as you need it to be, but always providing expert guidance and advice and evidence of auditing that can be used both internally and externally.
For more information about our Auditing services, you can call us on 0203 911 9710 or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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