LegalTech, the impact of technological developments on the practice of law, was one of the themes of the recent UIA congress where I had the honour of presenting the WhistleB solution. Our online whistleblowing solution enables organisations to improve compliance, transparency and ethics, and provides an opportunity for law firms to offer a state-of-the-art service to clients.
During recent years there has been a dramatic increase worldwide in the demand for specialised whistleblowing solutions. Organisational whistleblowing is being professionalised as corporates are increasingly treating whistleblowing as an integral part of their compliance and transparency-enhancing work. Where do law firms fit in?
Why are organisations looking to professional whistleblowing solutions to strengthen their compliance structures? Generally the incentive comes from a legal (or sectorial) obligation, such as a national anti-corruption law or industry standard. In other cases, leaders feel a moral conviction to offer a means of speaking up against wrongdoing. Others see whistleblowing as part of risk management – a way to reduce the risks of misconduct taking place. Whatever the incentive, the role of the law firm does not change: clients will continue to demand legal advice fuelled by such incentives.
How can an organisation strengthen its compliance structure? They may start with formulating a code of conduct or code of ethics, to be embraced by all levels of the organisation. Training sessions and internal or external assessments are then commonly used to keep such codes alive and improve employee understanding of them. Law firms may have a great role in assisting their clients in this regard.
How can an organisation verify whether it lives up to its ethics and compliance intentions and ideals? This is where more organisations are making use of the services of an external specialised whistleblowing solution provider. WhistleB’s service allows the organisation to offer a simple way for people to sound the alarm anonymously about wrongdoings, manage incoming reports in a compliant manner, follow up cases and maintain an on-going dialogue with the whistleblower. As such, the WhistleB system is serious option for law firms that want to expand their service palette, offering a one stop shop LegalTech solution to their client, or simply referring them to a dedicated whistleblowing service provider.
What steps can be taken to continuously enhance the organisational compliance structure? This is generally done through further assessments, ideally resulting in training and education tailored to the outcomes of the assessment. We see a growing demand for law firms in terms of whistleblowing case management and advice, in particular in the area of applicable legislation. For example, in certain jurisdictions the perspective of legal privilege is an important consideration that needs to be prioritised by organisations.
As a legal services provider, partnering with, or outsourcing to, a leading edge, digital-based whistleblowing service provider can be a way to differentiate your offering and increase demand for your core services. WhistleB offers a whistleblowing solution that is at the forefront of data protection and compliance and offers a range of functionalities. We are proud so serve hundreds of organisations in over 150 jurisdictions worldwide, and we have established partnerships with law firms, legal service providers and experts in the fields of compliance and ethics.
We look forward to hearing from you.