Legal Compliance Program for Clients’ Health

As a result of the increasing outbreak of Covid19 and lengthy lockdown, the clients’ legal health would be partially affected one way or another.

Health or dental clinics usually conduct medical checkups to assess patients’ health conditions. It is no exception that law firms and lawyers are rendered to conduct clients’ legal health on a regular or irregular basis. But clients might not know how lawyers assess their business’s legal health.

Need for a “Legal Fitness Program”

In the face of today’s global legal environment, conducting a business would be like travelling through a lot of countries with different cultures, customs, and domestic rules. As new laws are enacted and existing laws are interpreted more broadly to cover as much as the law-makers intent to do, more pitfalls are likely created for honest clients.

Very often, a client brings a matter to lawyers only when it has developed into an urgent problem. In these circumstances, the lawyers would feel that “If only I had found out about this earlier, I could have advised the client of some easy steps to avoid the whole problem.” But, there are two major difficulties for the lawyers to establish continuous and productive lines of communication with the client:

  • How could the lawyers efficiently sort out the client’s many activities, and the relevant information that point out potential legal problems?
  • Once the information is eventually obtained, how could the lawyers match the discovered information with many legal areas that may affect clients’ business, especially, in the more specialized areas of law where the potential problems might be detected by the legal specialists only?

It is no good adding more stress situations resulting from careless legal procedures as there are enough stresses in the daily conduct of a business. A legal compliance program (or legal compliance checkups) will not only make the business client better able to survive legal problems if and/or when they do come up, but also it will smooth out the daily operation of the business. In addition to the benefit of avoiding costly legal mistakes, a compliance program can alleviate problems and misunderstandings which might never appear on the surface as legal issues.

Now, more than ever, no business can afford to run afoul of the law. Even small incidents may be expensive, even fatal in the long term, and nothing will protect clients’ business better than comprehensive and workable compliance programs.

Legal Compliance Program for Clients’ Health

How to assess clients’ legal health

There are many ways of assessing clients’ legal health. It is suggested that clients should (i) build a compliance checkup program where questionnaires for clients’ business must be available; and (ii) have inhouse lawyers or outside counsels monitor the compliance program to diagnose and tackle potential legal problems when they arise.

As part of the compliance program, questionnaires are designed to help clients oversee potential legal problems. The questionnaire should often revolve around the following sections:

  1. basic planning and business structuring;
  2. regular business activities;
  3. manufacture and sale of products; industrial operations; technically oriented activities;
  4. other potentially high-risk areas of law; and
  5. personal activities not related to your business.

How the assessment process work

Once a matter occurs, lawyers rely on the questionnaires and look into factual situations of the matter that clients is facing. And then lawyers would likely be able to diagnose which matters are and how the matter will be handled, which is called “diagnosed questionnaires”.

By building up the questionnaires, it could serve a special function of directing the responsible supervises into the appropriate sections. When the diagnosed questionnaires are found, it likely refers to a course of action, or a specialist to be consulted for complicated matters.

Tips and Advice

As a result of the increasing outbreak of Covid19 and lengthy lockdown, businesses would actively consider communicating with their lawyers to diagnose potential legal problems.

As the legal compliance program already is in play, even once a matter potentially arises, consult with your lawyers first, do not prepare any written notes, tape recordings, memoranda, or any other tangible material relating to this questionnaire. Besides, do not provide anyone else, except your lawyers, with any information, either oral or written, relating to this questionnaire. Due to a lack of the compliance program, consult with your lawyers to build a workable compliance program within your organizations, which could be effective and affordable to ensure legal safety of your business operations in the long run.

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