Preparing for the PII renewal season – use Lawyer Checker

Preparing for the PII renewal season – use Lawyer Checker

The deadline for renewing Professional Indemnity Insurance is looming for law firms and naturally the premiums associated with this insurance are a great concern for most law firms, and in particular smaller law firms. 
Payments for insurance can constitute one of the largest costs to a business aside from salaries. Add to this the fact that where a practice is refused PI cover it can be forced to go out of business and it is clear that the renewal of PII will be weighing heavy on practitioners minds. 
The Legal Services Board (LSB) is currently deliberating on whether or not to approve the SRA proposed cut on the minimum cover limit from £2m to £500,000. Nevertheless, the decision is a statutory one, and unless the LSB can bring forth good reason to not approve the change then it will go ahead as per the requirements of the Legal Services Act. 
Despite this decision it is well known that the risk is high within the Conveyancing industry. In fact, in a recent survey carried out by Lockton Insurance Brokers earlier this year it was revealed that 70% of Professional Indemnity Insurance claims made against solicitors relate to property transactions.  Conveyancing firms, both large and small, therefore need to ensure that they are carrying out best practice when it comes to due diligence and the protection of client money. 
The threat of Vendor Conveyancer fraud is now omnipresent for firms who practice Conveyancing.  The impact on a firm of being a victim of identity theft has been well publicised; significant brand damage, raised insurance premiums and lender involvement that can lead to removal from panels and being taken to court. 
Following the decision in Nationwide v Davisons in 2012, Conveyancers were left feeling they could rely on the protection of s.61 Trustee Act 1925. However the subsequent ruling this year in the appeal case of Santander v RA Legal, stressed that the burden of proving the conveyancer acted “reasonably” is on the defendant, and has left Conveyancers somewhat confused and unsure as to how they may fare if innocently caught up in these situations. 
How does a Conveyancer now prove that they acted honestly and reasonably, if the check that is required by the CML cannot be relied upon?  Conveyancers of today must arm themselves with the best information in order to be satisfied that they are comfortable with transferring client funds. The ability to demonstrate due diligence and Outcomes Focussed processes is essential. 
Lawyer Checker helps law firms evidence their lower risk profile for conveyancing transactions. By conducting a Lawyer Checker search on all transactions it sends a message to both clients and lenders that the protection of purchase and mortgage funds is a priority for your firm. Tracey Carr, Financial Crime Manager of Santander sums it up with ‘We have done a lot of work to reduce fraud but vendor conveyancer fraud remains an area of growing concern. That is why I welcome initiatives like Lawyer checker that help our panel firms manage the risk associated with transmitting our money to vendor conveyancers. All conveyancers should reassess the checks they make before they send money to organisations offering undertakings.’
In turn a Lawyer Checker search also allows your firm to demonstrate to an insurer that you take all steps necessary to protect vulnerable client and lender money,  and in the worst case scenario will be able to provide evidence that you and your firm acted honestly and reasonably when conducting a conveyancing transaction.  When making an application for PII it would be hoped that use of Lawyer Checker will evidence reduced risk and contribute to keeping premiums as low as possible. 

Lawyer Checker

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Provider of market-leading risk management solutions to the legal sector.

Lawyer Checker is a leading provider of risk management solutions to the legal sector, offering a full inclusive suite of products and services which have one thing in common – they are all designed to protect and to promote your firm.

Our expert understanding of the legal sector means that we are in a unique position to ensure that your business is protected from the main threats without delay.

We are committed to being proactive when it comes to caring for our clients, and to getting them onto a platform where they are safer.

What does Lawyer Checker do?

Our suite of fraud prevention and cyber security products include:

Thirdfort is the latest in Lawyer Checker's innovative suite of products helping to defend law firms against the persistent threats lurking in the legal sector, by providing enhanced due diligence to source of funds and ID checks. It uses a mobile app to digitally confirm a client's identity by combining facial recognition technology with document scanning and open banking, enabling you to confidently “Know Your Customer." Find out more >

Account and Entity Screen (AES)
AES provides your firm with enhanced risk management when transferring funds by checking the accounts details of a solicitor you are sending funds to against our unique database. This ensures your client funds are sent to a legitimate bank account associated with the vendor’s conveyancing firm. Find out more >

Consumer Bank Account Checker (CBAC)
CBAC offers enhanced due diligence when remitting sales proceeds and balancing payments to consumers. It works by validating the source and destination of funds by checking the bank account details match your client’s personal details when sending or receiving client funds. Find out more >

A vital layer in protecting against email modification fraud, OnDMARC can actively block phishing attacks and obstruct 3rd parties impersonating your email domain to any recipient such as your clients, suppliers or employees. Email fraud is a law firm’s biggest risk. To avoid sensitive data being stolen through email impersonation fraud, safeguard your firm by implementing OnDMARC, otherwise anyone can send an email directly to your customers, suppliers or employees pretending to be you. Find out more >

Cyber Certifications

The National Centre for Cyber Security has identified the legal sector as a top target for cyber criminals. The sensitive data, large sums of money and important information that is held needs protecting to avoid severe damage to clients and your reputation.

Cyber Essentials
Cyber Essentials is a ‘must have’ certification for law firms which will protect your business, prevents data breaches and highlights to your customers, your regulators, the ICO and cyber criminals that you take cyber security seriously and shows you have taken the recommended steps to secure yourselves from potential threats. Getting Cyber Essentials certification for your firm is quick and easy, our in-house expert Cyber Essentials Assessors at Lawyer Checker (Part of Practical Vision Network) can conduct your online assessment and issue your certificate in less than 48hrs. For only £350 plus VAT it will give you peace of mind that you have shielded your law firm from cyber risk.

Cyber Essentials Plus
Our professional in-house assessors can issue official certificates to compliant firms for Cyber Essentials Plus, which is the next step up from Cyber Essentials. It covers the same controls but this time it is independently verified by a site visit from our expert assessor who will carry out a thorough inspection of online devices and web hosts through a detailed network vulnerability scan and certify your security arrangements to Cyber Essentials Plus level.

IASME Governance
Our expert in-house assessors can issue official certificates to compliant firms for IASME which includes Cyber Essentials certification along with a GDPR readiness assessment. It signifies to your customers and shareholders that you consider data protection a priority, and your desire to manage risk by demonstrating a high level of security. This certification is particularly suitable for businesses that are working towards ISO27001 and want a stepping stone, or for those that want to align to ISO27001 but perhaps don’t have the budget to go to a full certification.

ISO 27001
Our expert in-house consultants will help your firm prepare for ISO 27001 certification audits. It is internationally recognised as the most comprehensive and detailed accreditation to help embed a healthy security culture within your business. The consultation focuses on all business areas and not just the IT department. Our execution experts can work with you to implement ISO27001 in a way that works for your business and can provide as much or as little support as you need from project plans, document templates to full implementation. Our professional assessors can even help you to book and prepare for your certification audits.

To safeguard your business, use Lawyer Checker’s comprehensive products and services to arm you and your law firm with the right tools and information to be able to obtain the assurances you need to act in the best interests of your clients.

Key contacts:

Heidi Jenkins
Key Relationship Manager at the Practical Vision Network including Lawyer Checker, Solve Legal Marketing and The Move Exchange.
M: 0330 052 7588 E: [email protected]

Mark Siwiec
Business Development Manager (Cyber) at the Practical Vision Network including Lawyer Checker, Solve Legal Marketing and The Move Exchange.
M: 03300529150 E: [email protected]

Suite 4, Wright House, 67 High Street, Tarporley, Cheshire, CW6 0DP

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