How to effectively complete a client & matter risk assessment part 2: 7 ways Osprey can assist your law firm in completing matter risk assessments

Category: Blog, Practice Management, Staying Compliant 5th July 2024

The impact of robust client and matter risk assessments (CMRA), especially for SME law firms, cannot be overstated. These assessments not only ensure compliance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) guidelines but also protect firms from potential legal, financial, and reputational risks, and help to reduce premiums of PII. 

After the last thematic review completed by the SRA in early 2024, the results confirmed that more standardisation and due diligence needed to be implemented to ensure CMRA were effective in managing risk. The SRA outlined several poor practices they’d witnessed in most firms that are undermining the CMRA effectiveness. 

In part two of our three-part client and matter risk assessment guide, we delve into seven ways Osprey Approach can assist your law firm in conducting thorough and effective matter risk assessments. By leveraging digital tools within the all-in-one practice and case management solution, law firms can streamline their risk management processes, ensuring accuracy and compliance.

7 ways Osprey can assist your law firm in completing client and matter risk assessments

  1. Centralised data management

Effective risk assessments require an analysis of multiple data points. Osprey Approach provides a cloud, centralised data management system that consolidates all relevant client and matter information, so you can access what you need, when you need it. An all-in-one platform simplifies data retrieval but also ensures consistency and completeness, which are essential for accurate risk assessments. By having all information in one place, legal professionals can perform more thorough and efficient evaluations.

2. Automated compliance workflows 

Standardisation and pre-authorisation of tasks help ensure policies are followed and requirements aren’t missed. To help with the key challenges that the SRA highlighted in their thematic review, automated workflows help to ensure your team are following a set of pre-approved tasks and processes that you can ensure includes effective client and matter risk assessment tasks. CMRA processes can be built and added to existing department workflows so they embed into the everyday processes. 

3. Customisable risk templates

No two legal matters are identical, and risk assessments must be tailored to reflect the unique characteristics of each case. Osprey Approach offers customisable risk assessment templates that can be adapted to suit different types of legal work. These templates guide legal professionals through the assessment process, ensuring that all relevant factors are considered and appropriately documented. Build your own data capture forms, workflows, documents that are relevant to each work type, department, and branch. 

4. Improved collaboration and communication

Risk assessments often require input from multiple stakeholders, Osprey Approach facilitates enhanced collaboration and communication through its integrated platform. Users can share documents, communicate securely, and work together in real-time, ensuring that all perspectives are considered in the risk assessment process. This collaborative approach enhances the thoroughness and accuracy of risk evaluations.

5. Audit trails 

Easily keep track of actions completed, upcoming tasks, data inputted using the Osprey audit trails. This helps managers and heads of department to also complete file reviews so it’s quicker to proactively manage risk and ensure compliance requirements are met. 

6. Key dates & Outlook integration 

Key dates and task manager help you stay on top of milestones, deadlines, and important tasks. To meet compliance requirements, key dates are stored in Osprey but are automatically saved in your Outlook calendar to avoid missed key dates and tasks. 

7. Comprehensive reporting and documentation

Accurate and detailed documentation is crucial for effective risk management and regulatory compliance. Osprey Approach generates comprehensive risk assessment reports, capturing all findings, data stored, and upcoming tasks. These reports not only support transparency and accountability but also serve as valuable references for ongoing risk management and future assessments. By maintaining meticulous records, law firms can demonstrate their commitment to thorough risk management practices.

Compliance guidelines according to the SRA

The SRA mandates that law firms implement robust risk management frameworks. These frameworks must include procedures for identifying, evaluating, and mitigating risks associated with legal matters. Key aspects of the SRA’s risk management requirements include:

  • Risk identification and assessment: Firms must have procedures in place to identify and assess risks at the outset of any new matter. This involves gathering relevant information, evaluating potential risks, and documenting the assessment process.
  • Implementation of risk management measures: Based on the assessment, firms must implement appropriate measures to mitigate identified risks. This can include additional checks, enhanced due diligence, and ongoing monitoring.
  • Regular review and updating: Risk assessments must be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect new information and changing circumstances. This ensures that risk management practices remain effective and current.
  • Detailed documentation and reporting: Firms must maintain detailed records of their risk assessments and risk management actions. These records should be readily accessible for review and compliance purposes.

For more information on completing effective CMRA, check our part one of this guide which outline how to complete a client and matter risk assessment.

Utilise technology to ensure your teams are completing effective client and matter risk assessments 

Conducting effective matter risk assessments is crucial for the success and integrity of law firms. By leveraging the advanced features of Osprey Approach, law firms can enhance their risk assessment processes, ensuring thorough, accurate, and compliant evaluations. From automated workflows and a centralised platform, to customisable templates and comprehensive reporting, Osprey Approach provides a robust framework for managing risks effectively.

Incorporating Osprey Approach into your firm’s risk management strategy ensures that you remain proactive, compliant, and well-prepared to navigate the complexities of modern legal practice. By following best practices and utilising advanced technology, law firms can protect their interests, maintain regulatory compliance, and provide exceptional legal services.

As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, staying informed and adaptable is essential. Osprey Approach equips law firms with the tools and insights needed to maintain robust risk management practices, ultimately supporting the success and integrity of their legal practice. Book a consultation today to discover how Osprey can add value to your law firm. 

In the next part of this series, we will explore the common CMRA pitfalls and how to overcome them.

For further advice and best practices you can view parts one and three of our CMRA guide: 

Part 1: A guide to completing matter risk assessments

Part 3: Identifying and overcoming common risk assessment pitfalls encountered by SME law firms