Janet Noble, Risk and Compliance Product Manager, reports on our recent conference.

We recently held our first ever conference outside of London and I am pleased to report it was an event-packed day with over 100 delegates from the West Midlands and beyond. If you attended, we hope you found the day insightful and that it reinforced your knowledge on achieving best practice in compliance.

The conference began with an introduction by Pearl Moses, Head of Risk and Compliance at the Law Society, who also chaired the conference. We then heard from Andrew Beedham, President of the Birmingham Law Society, who welcomed delegates to the Conference. 

Ethics and the Rules

Francis Dingwall, solicitor and partner at Legal Risk LLP, kicked off the conference with an interesting discussion on the new, pared down SRA Rules and the role of ethics, asking ‘If rules are not proscriptive do they lack meaning’? He also noted that the paramouncy of client interest can sometimes put pressure on the ethical behaviours of solicitors. Overall, it was a fascinating discussion on the relationship between compliance and ethics. 

General Data Protection Regulation

Next up was the very knowledgeable James Castro-Edwards, author of EU General Data Protection Regulation: A Guide to the New Law, on the looming requirements we all face in relation to handling and processing data. Outlining all the key changes in relation to legal practice, James managed to make a technical subject both clear and interesting. 

Cyber threats

This was followed by an informative, if somewhat scary, session on cybercrime, data protection and security, delivered in his usual entertaining style by council member and Chair of the Technology and Law Reference Group, Peter Wright. 

Peter provided information on global cyber attacks, emphasising the importance of protecting your firm. He also made us aware of the new Networking and Information Security Directive, setting out the first EU-wide rules on cyber security and coming into force this Autumn. 

Anti-money-laundering

Crucial for those concerned about changes to the anti-money laundering provisions, Alison Matthews, Director of Quality and Risk and MLRO at Shoosmiths LLP, provided an overview of the new Money Laundering Regulations that came into force at the end of June. Delegates were reassured that the regulator’s expectations were that no-one could be expected to be compliant by the in-force date, but were reminded that the starting point was to get your risk Assessments in order. Alison also pointed us to the recent Practice Note on the Criminal Finances Bill 2017, which also has some bearing on this area. 

Following lunch there were two Breakout sessions: 

  • The SRA Handbook Changes—led by Iain Miller of Kingsley Napley LLP, and
  • Training, Learning and Development— a workshop with Helen Carr and Pearl Moses on embedding continuing competence. 

Finally, the day ended with a ‘Regulatory Mop-up’ where the panel included Siobhan Fennell of the Legal Ombudsman, Iain Miller, Helen Carr and Pearl Moses who answered questions on all the regulatory changes on the horizon. 

Contact us

We’re happy to discuss our current offering to risk and compliance members. Please email: riskandcompliance@lawsociety.org.uk or phone 020 7316 5655.