Risks are uncertainties in the outcome of a certain event, every business organizations or industry has its own unique risk associated with it that should be managed through risk assessments. In a law firm or any legal proceedings, there are lots of potential risks or pitfalls associated with the job starting from the inconsistent procedures involving the client file, cyber threat which has become the order of the day, in fact there is hardly a day that goes by without report of how confidential and personal information which is supposed to be protected by law firm has been hacked, there is also the danger and the risk associated with the merging of two law firms, the different documents which are typed, filed, referenced before been used. These documents contain lots of sensitive and confidential information which can pose a high level of risk or threat to the parties involved in an event of a data breach. So the security of private and confidential data are terms that constitute the overall risk that has to be managed. The law firm has two main sources of risk which centre on; firm’s client and the supposed legal practitioner.
The firm client’s: when an individual becomes a client to a lawyer there is a series of risk created and associated, these risk can be in forms like :
Is the client’s legal matter within the expertise of the selected attorney or legal practitioner?
How will the attorney or legal practitioner handle family trust issue of his clients?
Does the legal practitioner have all the necessary resources needed to handle its client’s legal case?
Is the firm having other pressing legal issues on hand or were another unavoidable case imposed on him?
Is there an unidentified conflict of interest between the lawyer and potential clients?
In order to alleviate some of the above risk issues, a lawyer should be very much prepared and ready before taking on client legal issues through risk assessments and risk management, there should be a properly documented engagement letters between the client and the lawyer, there should be an agreed fee between the lawyer and the client, the entire law firm should be greatly educated on how best to handle cases of malware, viruses, and ransomware which can compromise important legal documents of a client.
The risk associated with the legal practitioner or lawyer: attorneys are not supercomputers that hardly make mistakes, they are humans hence are prone to mistakes. A lawyer can be stress up due to the high volume legal matters that need to be addressed by him, to worsen it all if he refuses to delegates some these issue to another competent attorney he becomes choked up creating a very risky working environment. When new attorneys are added to a law firm, there are potential risks created; is the attorney really a trustworthy person? why did the new attorney leave the former law firm for the new one? Were they compromised before leaving their old law firm? when a lawyer leaves an old law firm for a new one there could emerge conflicts of interest within the firm, there is always the risk of compromising it’s former client’s confidential information and property especially when trying to win a court case, the gap created in a law firm when a competent attorney who no longer works there can also create a potential risk with the law firm; will they be able to find a better replacement? what influence will this have on the other working staff?
The following is some strategy that can help to alleviate the risk associated with an attorney within a law firm:
• Provision of a routine assessment and training of attorneys and staff: this can help to enhance the working performance and capabilities of the staff, they will be better acquainted with the rules and regulations governing the law firm. This education and training can also help the attorney keep up with the ever-changing method of legal procedures.
• Implementation of procedures and policies within the law firm: when attorney abides by the policies and procedures of a law firm, the constantly evolving risks is brought to a low.
• Appraisal and monitoring of the law firms policies: when there are regular appraisal and testing of how the working attorney keeps up with the stipulated policy with a given law firm, then the potential risk associated with the attorneys is reduced tremendously