Napthens LLP is an award-winning legal firm in the Northwest of England with around 270 staff operating from offices across Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside. Team members pride themselves on being professional and approachable legal advisers, working together with clients to provide solutions through clear communication and practical, relevant advice.
Napthens’ team of 60 conveyancing fee earners and administration staff have used Dye & Durham’s Lawyer Checker solution to help mitigate the risk of cyber fraud for residential and commercial property transactions since 2015. Lawyer Checker verifies the details of the recipient account of the solicitor receiving funds for transactions quickly and easily, using a unique algorithm that checks details against 10 different databases in real time. It integrates with Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) scam alerts and safeguards transactions against human error and typos.
Claire Duncan, partner and head of risk at Napthens Solicitors, stated:
“We undertake around 295 conveyancing transactions per month and so it is critical we address the risk of cyber fraud and get our approach right. Currently, it’s a particularly tough time for legal firms given the dramatic rise in fraudulent attempts since the pandemic started. We need to know we are doing everything we can to mitigate risk and, for us, Lawyer Checker offers an extra layer of security.”
Napthens’ conveyancing team now use Lawyer Checker for every property transaction. Duncan adds that while 99% of the time, the checks are fine, occasionally an “infrequent” result is returned and flagged to her. She said:
“Even firms we know well may have changed bank account details or sophisticated fraudsters can impersonate email accounts by just changing a single digit.”
It means we need to ask more questions to verify the firm we are dealing with is who they say they are. Those due diligence conversations and the process of using Lawyer Checker has now become embedded within our workflow and it means we have certainty when transferring funds.”
Lawyer Checker can be accessed 24/7. A pdf report is provided within normal business hours, offering peace of mind for both firms and their clients. Reports also offer an audit trail for law firms as well as ensuring due diligence by adhering to the SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors (SCCS) 4.2 that safeguards client money and assets.
Part of Claire Duncan’s role incorporates responsibility for insurance renewals at Napthens. She claimed: “Without Lawyer Checker in place, there would certainly be a negative impact on our insurance premiums. By using Lawyer Checker, we are able to demonstrate strong risk governance within our firm.”
The cost of Lawyer Checker is low, and Duncan describes it as a small price to pay for peace of mind for both clients and the Napthens team.
Napthens also use Thirdfort ordered through Dye & Durham as the firm’s preferred method for client ID verification for new client onboarding. Duncan continued:
Claire Duncan adds there are an “alarming amount” of SRA scam alerts recently, and the challenges and risks have grown due to the increase in remote communication.
“I check the SRA scam alerts as part of my daily routine but having the information in Lawyer Checker reports is also helpful as it notifies us if any of the information relates to a case we are working on, and this can save time and guarantees alerts are not missed. The use of Lawyer Checker on every transaction is non-negotiable. For firms not using Lawyer Checker, you have to wonder: why wouldn’t you use this risk mitigation tool in today’s climate?”Go to Media