Negligence is no option

Firms are earning more and more money with legal risk management, be it with internal investigations, corporate disputes, tax law or antitrust. But the more intensively the authorities investigate companies, the more advisors themselves end up in the firing line.

Many firms have invested heavily in transactions advice and still earn excellent money with complex, big-ticket deals. But partner fees are stagnating, and some elements of work are no longer as profitable as they once were because of the use of software. Yet fees are rising where a crisis is suspected. Even “neutral” fields related to transactions, like antitrust, banking and corporate, have the increasing involvement of crises in advice to thank for their stability.

The corporate and regulatory environment has been changing for around ten years. Economic crimes are no longer forgivable sins. Those responsible for law and compliance were the first to feel the effect of this. After the first management boards were toppled and the courts held supervisory boards more accountable, the stance toward external legal advisors also changed: from the point of view of some public prosecution departments and tax investigators, they are stakeholders and not reliable ex officio. The halo surrounding the “organs of the administration of justice” is wobbling. More than ever, firms cannot allow themselves to be negligent.

But many midsized firms – in the belief that the professional regulations will draw the line at some point and that the bar associations will not investigate too closely – often lack compliance structures. Conflicts of interest are examined, but issues like money laundering and IT security are often still sidelines for partners. Large firms on the other hand, especially international ones, have entire teams to monitor the processes. And the investments by commercial law firms in risk management will continue to grow.

Top law firms flexing their muscles

Companies Two-speed evolution

The 40-hour associates

Legal tech: creeping revolution

Seiten: 1234

  • Teilen