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.
Earlier this year, Legal IT Professionals featured an article co-authored by my colleague James Britt and me that provides a list of cybersecurity best practices global law firms should prioritize in 2017. More specifically, we discussed specific steps law firms can take to address gaps that previously provided hackers with easy access to sensitive data.