Reflecting your views in the Risk Outlook

This month the team are starting to gather evidence for our annual Risk Outlook. This is the first year I've been involved in this work, and I was keen to understand the team's approach to gathering evidence. It's really important that the Outlook is evidence-based, as it outlines our priority risks, informing our approach to regulation.

A wide range of sources

As can be seen from the diagram below, we draw on many different sources to inform the Risk Outlook.

evidence base diagram

External engagement

We can evaluate lots of internal and externally published evidence, but it's also important that we speak to those of you working in the legal profession to understand whether our research reflects what is happening in practice. We talk to different types of people working in law firms, and ask their opinions on the risks they face in their firm. We're keen to engage with as wide a range of firms as possible, as experiences are very different depending on the area of law you practice in, or the size of your business.

Small firm perspectives

This year, for example, we will be gathering the thoughts of our Small Firms virtual reference group – a group of firms with less than four partners, who can give us a view of the issues affecting smaller practices. We will send out a survey to the group so they can give us an overview of which risks matter most to them. Last year, we found that the issues that mattered to small firms included cybercrime and the cost of regulation. We're interested to see if things have changed.

Firms at the cutting edge

We are also going to take advantage of our forthcoming Innovate conference on 22 March to engage with those firms attending. Chris, Laura and George from the Research and Analysis team will be there to ask about your views on the issues affecting your firm and how innovation can help tackle them.

A specialist view

Finally, we'll have a presence at some upcoming meetings with specialist practitioner groups, such as the Mental Health Lawyers Association. We're particularly interested to learn from the experiences of people in specialist areas of practice that involve vulnerable clients.

What's on our radar?

We're looking forward to gathering your views, but there are a number of issues we already know you're interested in, having spoken to many practitioners at events such as our annual compliance conference. Cybercrime always comes up in discussions, and we know that you're interested in tips to help protect your information. Another issue we have discussed with many of you is how the proposed changes to our regulation, and external changes such as the LASPO Bill, may affect your firms. Hundreds of you have also taken part in our survey 'A question of trust', and this has helped us understand what you consider to be the most serious types of misconduct. This evidence will also help inform the Risk Outlook.

You can contribute

Register for our webinar on 10 March. Laura and George will be online for a live discussion where you can give your opinions about what we should include in this year’s Risk Outlook, and we'll capture all contributions to add to our evidence for the report.

Take part in our online poll. Vote on which priority risk you consider poses the biggest risk.

I hope you have found this useful and I look forward to hearing about the risks and issues that matter to you over the next few months.

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