The legal sector, like so many others is adapting and pivoting all the time to figure out how to provide service to its clients.
With meeting clients at best restricted, remaining regulatory compliant at a time when legal services continue to be in demand, is feeling for some to be an uphill struggle.
Working remotely for the majority, with perhaps only skeleton staff in the offices for the foreseeable, there are many barriers that need to be negotiated to onboard clients safely, in line with compliance obligations and efficiently.
Innovation is key
Finding solutions to help with these problems is becoming easier as legal tech increasingly seeks to serve these issues. The SRA’s Technology and Legal Services report back in November 2018 detailed how ‘over a third of businesses and almost half of people who use legal services say that they want online legal services.’
How law firms can use legal technology to beat these obstacles
In the current climate, meeting KYC (Know Your Client) Identity and AML compliance obligations are even more time consuming and a true burden for both fee earner and client
Asking your clients to send scanned copies of physical documents takes time, causes delays and can throw up several security concerns.
Fortunately, innovation and the desire to offer law firms and clients effective easy to use solutions, means that relying on scanned documents and trying to set up socially distanced identification verification is pretty much redundant. Minerva can help law firms reduce delays and increase efficiency.
Via an easy to use platform, digital ID checks and facial recognition technology are combined to ensure that all ID verification is completed quickly. An additional layer of verification scrutinises the validity of the documentation to provide further surety.
When it comes to obtaining physical or certified copies of ID in the pre-engagement process when helping people make a will, private client departments will need to find a more agile way of working to ensure that all regulatory procedures are properly followed.
Similarly, legal practitioners working in areas of law requiring Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks will need to find ways of completing this process when offices are closed, and physical documents cannot be assessed.
Potential for strain during furlough scheme
As fantastic as the government’s quick assistance was in the early days of the pandemic with its furlough scheme, it has meant for many firms and legal departments that they are operating at a massively reduced capacity. Which would be fine if the need for legal services had fallen, but in some areas, it has not done as much as was initially anticipated.
The issue for law firms with furloughed staff is that these employees are not permitted to work under the terms of the scheme.
Engendering efficient process within skeleton departments and condensed teams has never been more urgent. The completion of documents such as LPAs or Property Information Forms can take time if they are printed off, posted and then must be completed manually by clients before they then return these through the post. This of course causes delay and is not cost efficient at all.
Ensuring due diligence is maintained during these times can be greatly assisted by the use of a platform that allows digital forms completion and digital ID verification for your clients.
Minerva can ensure KYC checks are completed in minutes, and politically exposed persons (PEP) and sanctions screenings are carried out.
Removing the strain away from remote workers and those in busy departments a comprehensive digital solution will increase efficiency and ensure that all due diligence is fully compliant with both government advice and regulatory rules.