"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" is a well known quote from Shakespeare’s Henry VI Part 2. I was an English major, so I read a lot of Shakespeare and I don’t particularly agree with this quote – I’ve got lots of lawyer friends.
Let's go through ways all our lawyer friends can help on third party risk.
Purposes Law Firms Have for Third Party Risk Management
In the world of third party risk management, law firms serve lots of important purposes.
1. Key vendor to have on your list: They are one of the important third parties every institution should be using. You’re likely using law firms for every day matters, ranging from document reviews to handling sensitive legal issues to helping advise the board on new regulations.
And sidenote: Yes, you should include them in your due diligence efforts - you should:
- Verify they are licensed to practice in the state and the field in which you plan to use them
- Do a reputation risk check on them
- Check their information security practices as law firms are notorious for having not fully embraced information security as a top priority
2. Assist in understanding new regulation: Law firms are an excellent resource for understanding new regulatory guidance. When a voluminous new piece of regulation comes out, I often skim the highlights and then wait for the legal analysis that helps me understand specifically what I need to know.
Some of my personal favorites are the updates I receive from firms like Ballard Spahr, Wilmer Hale and Bryan Cave, just to name a few. Additionally, news summaries like Lexology and JD Supra do an excellent job of putting things in relevant, easy to understand context.
3. Help get the work done: Developing strong working relationships with the law firms with whom you do business is always a good idea. Whether for routine matters like contract reviews or sticky situations like needing to terminate a contract early, law firms can be an enormously helpful.
Our jobs are difficult enough without having to earn a law degree ourselves. Fortunately, we’ve got lots of friends in the legal industry who are more than ready, willing and able to assist.
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