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2024 Risk Outlook

Earlier this month, we released our much anticipated Risk Outlook for 2024. This annual publication sheds light on key risks for Victoria’s legal profession. Our focus is not to encompass every potential risk but to spotlight those posing significant consumer harm and consequent regulatory ramifications.

Several risks from last year remain pertinent. Cybersecurity breaches, legislative non-compliance, unethical conduct, and inadequate supervision in law practices persist, to the detriment of clients. This year, we are also addressing emerging threats such as the misuse of artificial intelligence, involvement in certain referral schemes, and inadvertent facilitation of money laundering.

Cybersecurity breaches

Continuing from last year, cybersecurity remains a critical priority due to escalating global and domestic cybercrime. Read more here.

Artificial Intelligence – improper use

While AI promises advancements in legal services, lawyers should be careful to use it appropriately. Unlike lawyers, AI lacks the nuanced understanding essential to deliver high-quality legal services. Read more here.

Uniform Law obligations – non-compliance

Breaches of important legislative obligations, particularly in relation to trust money and costs disclosure, pose significant risks to consumer welfare. Read more here.

Failure to comply with fundamental ethical duties

Maintaining integrity and professional independence is fundamental. Breaches can result from inadequate professional boundaries, but more often are linked to poor judgement exacerbated by stress, an inadequate understanding of substantive legal requirements, or simply failing to act fairly, honestly or reasonably in all circumstances. Read more here.

Money laundering

Compliance with reporting obligations under the Financial Transactions Reports Act 1988 (Cth) in relation to cash transactions is crucial to prevent inadvertent involvement in money laundering. It’s also important to be aware that soon lawyers are likely to have to comply with broader obligations in the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth). Read more here.

Inadequate Supervision

Effective oversight within law practices is essential for ethical practice and career sustainability. Read more here.

We urge all legal practitioners to familiarise themselves with these risks and take proactive measures to uphold professional standards and protect client interests. For more detailed insights, refer to our full Risk Outlook 2024.

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