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Practical steps to an effective risk-management strategy

Law firms may take a varied view of risk from a wide perspective, including risks to the firm’s reputation to a narrow regulatory approach to managing specific claims. Whatever the approach, all firms must now adopt some kind of risk-management strategy if they are to survive the potentially damaging claims of the current environment. Chris Andrews, a risk partner at Clifford Chance, explains his role and the practical steps firms can take to ensure they are covered against every eventuality.

2 June 2003

In today’s business climate, no firm can afford to ignore the active management of risk. Although law firms may not feature as defendants in litigation as frequently as accounting firms, the consequences of one major claim can still be devastating – both financially and in terms of the damage caused to the firm’s reputation. The recent demise of Andersen dramatically exposed the vulnerability of professional-services firms to “reputation collapse” and clearly demonstrated how the activities of one office or practice area can affect the survival of the whole organisation. In addition, the environment in which law firms operate, even if they only have offices in one jurisdiction, is increasingly regulated. EC directives and national implementing legislation on money laundering, data protection and interception of communications, to name but a few, are sources of legislation affecting the operation of law firms in England, where non-compliance could present a real ...

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