Back in the day, law firms and clients usually set forth the terms governing their relationships in standard engagement letters. But more recently, as bargaining power has shifted away from law firms and toward clients, organizations have begun to document their expectations for outside counsel in increasingly long and detailed guidelines.
In 2015, 11.5 million documents referred to as the Panama Papers were leaked from a Panamanian law firm and revealed widespread global tax evasion involving notable individuals (including FIFA soccer officials and the Icelandic Prime Minister). The scandal brought global scrutiny to money laundering and the role law firms play in assisting such actions. Since then, regulators in the U.S., UK and E.U. have vowed to close up loopholes and enforce stricter anti-money laundering rules on intermediaries including banks and law firms to mitigate the issue. With mainstream media reports about money laundering intensifying, global law firms must take anti-money laundering (AML) compliance not as a suggestion, but as a necessity.
On June 9, over 20 representatives from the legal vertical joined HBR Consulting and Intapp at Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York for an invitation-only Risk Roundtable. Participants from law firms and investment banking firms came together for a thoughtful discussion that included ideas and insight into how to improve the business acceptance process.