Read our essential guide to the Legal Sector Affinity Group (LSAG) Guidance document
Have you read the 200+ pages of updated AML guidance issued by the LSAG in January?
This is the document that replaces the old Law Society Anti-money Laundering practice note. It is the definitive guide to the Money Laundering Regulations for the legal professions and cannot be ignored.
It is also the standard by which the SRA will measure your firm’s AML compliance. They are increasingly proactive about checking law firms’ policies, procedures and risk assessments.
So it is vitally important that you get up to speed.
In this article we highlight:
- The main changes to the new guidance
- Problems and observations
- What you need to do with it
This article is an edited transcript from last week’s webinar.
For the “too long; didn’t read” version, you could always have a quick look at the slide deck:
What to do when your law firm’s email is hacked [10 steps]
Cybercrime occurs on an industrial scale. Law firms are attractive targets to hackers because of the amount of money that flows through our client accounts and the volume of transactions.
For all the advances to communication it has brought to legal practice over the past twenty years, our reliance on email makes lawyers vulnerable to hackers and fraudsters.
Most – if not all – firms are regularly subject to phishing attacks. It takes just one person to click on a malicious email to open the door.
Covid certainly hasn’t helped. Working from home has exacerbated existing points of failure.
What do you do when the worst happens?
- Seal the doors
- Investigate and patch the holes
- Alert the authorities
- Notify affected clients
- Report to regulators
- Notify other clients and third parties
- Insurance notification
- Review systems
- Update training
- Get cyber insurance
We are thrilled to be able to welcome Lydia Turner to the team.
Lydia has headed up a busy compliance department in private practice, and has worked in an advisory capacity for many law firms and banks. He core skills include:
- Complaints handling
- Policies and procedures
Welcome to the team, Lydia!
High Court overturns controversial junior lawyer strike off
- [Updated] Tax Adviser Guidance – Arriving without any fanfare from the SRA, this significant update to the ‘tax adviser’ guidance provides further details on the practice areas that may now be subject to full AML compliance. Practitioners in these areas can no longer assume they are not subject to the Money Laundering Regulations. Some firms may have to register for AML authorisation (see our recent blog). On the list:
- Employment law
- Estate planning
- Wealth management
- Family law
- [Updated] European Lawyers practising in the UK
- [Updated] Registered Foreign Lawyers
- [Updated] Approval of Role Holders
Law Society practice notes and updates
- [New] Closure of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund – Essential reading for anyone who may one day want to retire without having to worry about being made homeless. File under “if you ever needed a reason to convert to a limited company…”
Thanks to everyone who attended last week’s webinar (The LSAG AML Guidance – what you need to do). The slides can be viewed here. The Zoom recording link has been sent out to those clients who registered.
Next month’s session will be on price and service transparency. We will recap what the current rules are and look at the SRA’s direction of travel. It’s a pretty controversial area so please do sign up when the invitation comes around.
We’re going to mix it up slightly by opening registration to clients only up to certain date, before making it available to a wider audience closer to the time.
What’s on my whiteboard?
- Bushra Anwar – solicitor restored to the roll after being struck off for contempt and Accounts Rules breaches in 1999.
- Henna Zeb Khan – struck off for forging a colleague’s signature on property forms. The offences occurred during her training contract.
- Andrew Roman Pena – struck off for creating false invoices to cover his firm’s overheads.
- Victoria Ellouise Whelan – suspended for six months after lying in a “blind panic” to cover up her mistake of having sent sensitive documents to a third party. She was a newly qualified solicitor at the time and came clean shortly after.
- Robert Alan Downie – struck off for misuse of client money. Although admitting that he deserved to be removed from the profession, he now reportedly operates an unregulated legal practice.