Crowe Highlights Challenges Facing Regional Law Firms in South West






Law firms across the Midlands and South West will be meeting in November to discuss the challenges and issues facing the legal sector as 2023 draws to a close.

National audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe will host its latest regional update meetings for law firm COFAs (Compliance Officers for Finance and Administration) and COLPs (Compliance Officers for Legal Practice) along with senior members of their finance and compliance teams.

Crowe partner Ross Prince (above), who heads up the Professional Practices team in the South West and Midlands offices, said: “We are holding two in-person meetings at our Cheltenham and Oldbury offices to allow flexiblity on date and location.”

“Our COFA Network meets quarterly to discuss compliance challenges, hot topics and provide sector updates. There will be an opportunity for everyone to share queries, concerns and ideas, and get involved in the round table discussions.”

He states that issues under the spotlight currently include the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) 2022-23 Anti-Money Laundering annual report.

The report reminds law firms that from July 2022, fines on regulated firms and individuals rose from a maximum of £2,000 up to a new limit of £25,000.

However, the SRA can impose a fine of up to £250 million on an Alternative Business Structure (ABS), also known as a licensed body, and up to £50 mllion on managers and employees of an ABS. More details here.

Another area where law firms must be vigilant concerns the workplace environment, and the inherent risks in failing to protect and support colleagues. The latest SRA update, details here, provides five case study examples of areas of concern.

Prince said other areas causing concern across the legal profession included the lack of disaster recovery planning for issues such as a cyber attack, an IT crash or physical event such as a fire.

And in an environment of fluctuating interest rates, the subject of what is considered a fair rate for client account interest will also be discussed.

He said: “Firms must account to clients for a ‘fair amount’, which can be interpreted in many different ways, but typically we see firms paying what the client would get from an instant access deposit account at their bank.”

Crowe has published a useful discussion document – Client account interest | Crowe UK

The Cheltenham meeting will take place on Tuesday 21 November from 08:30 to 10:00 at The Find, 20 Regent Street, Cheltenham GL50 1HE, and the Midlands meeting will take place on Tuesday 28 November from 08:00 to 09:30 at Crowe, Black Country House, Rounds Green Road, Oldbury B69 2D.To book a free place at the Cheltenham event, contact, or at the Oldbury event,





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