The Law Society has taken an equity stake in a company that provides support to legal firms on complying with outcomes-focused regulation (OFR).
Chancery Lane says the agreement with Riliance, which has developed an online support tool for compliance officers for finance and administration, and legal practice, will bolster its Risk and Compliance Service and Lexcel practice management standard. The cost and size of the shareholding have not been disclosed.
Desmond Hudson, chief executive, said it is a new departure for Chancery Lane to take a stake in an external service provider, rather than form a commercial partnership. He explained: 'From January 2013 the responsibilities of COLPs and COFAs, under OFR, will take full effect. While some solicitors firms have developed bespoke support tools, not all firms will have the resources to do this on their own.
'The Riliance online support product has been developed by experienced solicitors, with considerable expertise in compliance. It has already proven to be an effective tool, with good feedback from customers.'
Hudson explained that the software delivers a series of workflow practices to ensure compliance with OFR and, just as importantly, the ability to demonstrate compliance to regulators. 'Our stake in the company and marketing support will help Riliance to develop its product and service to solicitors more speedily,' he added.
'The society will improve the support provided to our members by packaging the Riliance software with our other products. Members will benefit from any increase in the company's value.'
Hudson said there will in future be a 'demonstrable difference in price' for the service between Lexcel-accredited firms and members of the Risk and Compliance Service, and those who are not members of either.
Mark Gidge, chief executive of Riliance said: 'We are delighted to have the Law Society as our partner and look forward to working alongside them. The strength of the Riliance product combined with the Society's expertise in this area will ensure the availability to members of a first-class risk and compliance product suite that will significantly aid firms in becoming and remaining compliant.'