Risk and Compliance Lawyer

Experience level: Intermediate
Term: Permanent
Working hours: Full-time
Department: Risk
Location: Basingstoke
Company background

Penningtons Manches Cooper is a leading UK and international law firm which provides high quality legal advice tailored to both businesses and individuals. We address the specific objectives of each client through our flair and technical expertise and offer a personal service founded on a strong team ethic.

Today, we have UK offices in the City of London, Basingstoke, BirminghamCambridge, Guildford, Oxford and Reading while our growing overseas network stretches from Asia to America through our presence in Singapore, Piraeus, Paris, Madrid, Sao Paulo and San Francisco. With 141 partners and over 850 people in total, our main areas of practice are dispute resolution, corporate and commercial, real estate, private client and family.

We have established a strong reputation in a variety of sectors, particularly private wealth, shipping, technology and property. Our lawyers are also recognised for their expertise in life sciences, education, retail, sports and entertainment and international trade. In these areas, we're acknowledged for our unparalleled market insight.

By joining forces with the partners and staff of Thomas Cooper in July 2019, we have added significant depth to our core practice. The move builds on the expansion of our litigation and arbitration offering and has introduced us to the maritime community in which Thomas Cooper has long been a key player.

Our continuing commitment to excellence is backed by a track record which dates back nearly 300 years. We pay great attention to matching your requirements with the right skills, delivered cost effectively and within the appropriate timescale.

Among our clients we count multi-national corporations, public companies, professional partnerships, banks and financial institutions as well as private individuals, owner managed businesses and start-ups. We are conscious that our culture and close working relationships are vital assets and we are determined to maintain these as we increase in size. 

Our broad international focus is supported by well-established links with law firms throughout the world. Penningtons Manches Cooper is a member of Multilaw and the European Law Group, networks with representatives in over 100 countries, and many of our lawyers play leading roles in various international bodies.

Summary of role

The main objectives of the role are to assist the Risk and Compliance team, in particular the COLP and Deputy COLP in:

  • Handling internal enquiries in relation to the SRA Code of Conduct including, for example, advising on conflicts of interests, Solicitors Accounts Rule 3.3, insurance distribution and general ethical concerns
  • Handling internal enquiries in relation to other relevant regulation including, for example, FSMA.
  • Assisting with international compliance and regulatory requirements
  • Providing internal advice as to complaints handling and handling complaints when escalated, dealing with external clients as appropriate
  • Responding to Data Subject Access Requests
  • Maintaining records of data breaches and complaints and analysing that data alongside that produced by the firm’s file review and audit procedures, recommending and implementing improvements as necessary
  • Preparing reports for the firm’s risk committee and management board

The role requires a proactive approach not only to the development of processes, procedures, rules and mechanisms for identifying and managing risk and ensuring compliance, but also to promote them within the firm.  The firm envisages an approach of education and persuasion and which promotes best practice through a process of influencing the key stakeholders and staff.

The role will require close working with internal fee earning and central teams, as well as engagement with external agencies such as the SRA, Legal Ombudsman, FCA and ICO.

The role does not include responsibility for AML and financial crime aspects, for which the firm will have a separate KYC and Financial Crime Lawyer role.

Main duties and responsibilities

  1. Internal compliance enquiries
    • Responding to internal enquiries from fee earning and central teams relating to compliance, risk management, client due diligence requirements and the firm’s procedures
    • Dealing with enquiries from clients and external agencies
    • Reviewing results of conflict checks and making recommendations
    • Assisting the Data Protection Officer with the recording of and response to any departure from compliance with GDPR and the Data Protection Act and any request for data, in particular preparing responses to DSARs.
  2. Complaints procedure
    • Assisting in the handling of client complaints including reading files, assessing complaints, preparing complaint responses and dealing with clients and external agencies
    • Advising internally on the operation of the firm’s complaints procedure
    • Assisting in maintaining the firm’s complaints records in the Riliance risk management system
    • Assisting in the analysis of causes of complaints and the identification of training needs and changes to procedures required to address those causes.
  3. Management reporting
    • Contributing as requested to the analysis of firm wide risks and the preparation of reports on this to the Risk and Compliance Partner, providing recommendations as required.
    • Assisting other team members as requested in collating information on risks associated with the firm’s business and internal operations
  4. Systems implementation and maintenance
    • Assisting the team in encouraging best practice in the approach to risk, and a culture of proper risk management and regulatory compliance throughout the firm
    • Contributing to the creation and implementation of a risk strategy, rules and policies that are both effective and acceptable to those who are asked to adopt them.
    • Assisting others in the team and the wider firm in the maintenance of various external accreditations and panel memberships.
    • Assisting the team in devising and operating processes to promote and check the firm’s compliance and risk management, including the review of potential and existing software solutions.
    • Assisting the COLP and Deputy in the identification of required improvements to existing arrangements to meet the firm’s risk management objectives and those created as a result of legislative changes, regulatory requirements and best practice within the profession.
    • Assisting the COLP and Deputy in the drafting of policies, procedures and management board reports as requested in relation to risk avoidance and with the implementation of new procedures as appropriate.
    • Working with others in the team to create processes to streamline necessary tasks such as conflict checking, client identification, client acceptance, matter opening and establishing terms of engagement.
    • Assisting with the maintenance of the firm’s practice manual, transition of this information to the intranet and keeping these sources up to date to reflect regulatory and procedural changes.
    • Collaborating with the internal audit team as appropriate in order to address vulnerabilities they identify as a result of their audits and to feed into the team’s audit scope where there is a compliance or risk management concern which needs to be quantified or understood.
    • Collaborating with other central and fee earning teams where appropriate to develop workable procedures and policies that meet the firm’s objectives whilst ensuring robust compliance and risk management.
  5. Other
    • Advising as required on matters of professional conduct and ethics, conflicts of interest and confidentiality.
    • Assisting the firm to meet its obligation of cooperation and transparency with its regulators, including the preparations required should the firm be asked to answer to a regulator as part of an audit, investigation, enquiry or otherwise.
    • Assisting other teams to review and resolve compliance concerns in relationships with external parties, including where appropriate the review of supplier contracts and client’s terms and conditions.
    • Taking responsibility for own personal development in order to keep skills and knowledge up to date, including attending any training as and when required and staying abreast of changing legislation.
    • Carry out any further duties as required by the Firm from time to time.
Essential and desirable criteria
  • Applicants should ideally be qualified solicitors with up to three years’ post-qualification experience although other applications will be considered. Demonstrable risk management experience is not essential but an interest in these topics is, along with a working knowledge of the SRA Code of Conduct

  • A strong team player who is persuasive, with highly developed communication and influencing skills and the resilience to cope with those who may need more encouragement than others.

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills are essential, with the ability to vary the approach to suit the target audience, which may include the Management Board, individual staff members, external agencies or clients.

  • Strong commercial awareness with the ability to demonstrate a strategic approach to risk management and a willingness to challenge the status quo and suggest change.

  • Excellent organisational skills.

  • High degree of self-motivation and a self-starting approach with a passion for compliance, risk management and business improvement

  • Academic ability to interpret rules and regulations coupled with a practical and common sense approach to their application in the firm.

  • Strong IT skills.