If you manage conveyance transactions, settlements, or even funds in anticipation of costs, you probably handle many millions of dollars in client funds every year.
It is imperative that your clients have confidence that those funds are safe and well managed – the legal profession relies on this implicit trust when engaging clients.
Traditionally, external examiners and law societies must ensure trust rules are embraced by legal firms. Collectively, the profession undertakes their respective responsibilities to ensure the public continues to trust the legal profession.
A national standard
For many years the various states and territories have had differing rules in relation to trust regulations. In July 2015 the first attempt to provide a national, uniform set of guidelines and regulations came into effect – the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules (2015)
We’re proud to say FilePro has recently received certification by the Law Society of New South Wales – the only law society to undertake such certification. They found that our most recent version of FilePro (126.96.36.199) is compliant with the new rules “in a manner which will allow convenient and proper investigation or external examination”.
Reducing the costs of external examination
If you’ve ever undergone a trust account examination, you’ll know the cost is substantial in both dollars and time. Examinations are also stressful – there is the unspoken concern that a practicing certificate hangs in the balance.
We recently held discussions with John Mitchell, Chief Trust Account Investigator & Supervisor with the Law Society of New South Wales. We spoke about how we could make the process of external examination and routine investigation less onerous and costly for you, our FilePro clients.
Developing an automatic audit
We’ve committed to providing a dashboard for partners/directors, external examiners and Trust Account Investigators that provides a fully automated trust examination facility.
Based on the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules (2015) this dashboard will present information in a clear and visual format, extracted from the trust records of the practice.
This visual representation will significantly assist partners and managers to ensure they’re complying with the rules and greatly reduce the process, and subsequent cost, of external examination.
We’re anticipating that this feature will be released in the third quarter of 2016.