Risk Outlook 2020/2021

Foreword

Welcome to our new Risk Outlook for 2020/21. The Outlook sets out our view on the key risks and challenges currently facing the profession, helping you to take steps to protect both your firm and your clients.

I know that the Outlook is a valuable resource – it is certainly one of the most visited pages of our website. Of course, this year we are publishing against the backdrop of Covid-19, which has brought so many challenges for the legal sector and the wider community. Importantly, the pandemic has exacerbated some of the wider, day-to-day risks that already existed. We saw this happen very quickly, for example, when the number of cybercrime reports recorded by the National Crime Agency rose 400 percent in the first weeks of lockdown as criminals tried to take advantage of those – including law firms – working from home.

As well as looking at cybersecurity, this year’s Risk Outlook has information on Brexit and its implications, reminds you of your obligations to keep client money safe and to prevent money laundering. It reiterates that ensuring high standards is key and that you can benefit from the diversity dividend - how having a workforce that reflects the communities you serve - is good for clients and good for you.

Predicting the future is never easy – for example, Brexit has had multiple changing milestones. Our assessment of risks in the sector is accompanied by suggestions about what you and your firm need to do meet your obligations and make sure you are resilient and well prepared for whatever comes your way. It can help you to identify where your firm may be vulnerable, what could potentially stop you from providing high-quality legal services and what you could and should be doing to mitigate these risks.

I encourage you to share the issues addressed in the Outlook as widely as possibly within your firm, so that everyone understands the issues and can be open about any emerging challenges and difficulties.

Paul Philip, Chief Executive

Use www.sra.org.uk/riskoutlook to link to this page.