The English Law Society has become a shareholder in Riliance, which has quickly established itself as the market-leading online support tool for law firm COLPs and COFAs. The agreement, which includes an equity investment by the Law Society, provides for the Society’s involvement in further development of the product and promotion of Riliance as part of the Law Society Risk and Compliance service.

Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, said: “From January 2013 the responsibilities of COLPs and COFAs, under outcomes-focused regulation, will take full effect. While some solicitors’ firms have developed bespoke support tools, not all firms will have the resources to do this on their own. The Riliance online support product has been developed by experienced solicitors, with considerable expertise in compliance. It has already proven to be an effective tool, with good feedback from customers.

“Our stake in the company and marketing support will help Riliance to develop its product and service to solicitors more speedily. The Law Society will improve the support provided to our members by packaging the Riliance software with our other products. We will also ensure that the product continues to meet evolving regulatory requirements and our members’ needs. Our equity stake also means that our members will benefit from any increase in the company’s value.”

The Law Society say the agreement announced today will benefit:

  • Our members – who can have continued confidence in the suitability of this tool to help them manage risk and satisfy the SRA
  • the existing owners of Riliance – who have developed a market-leading product and now have support in reaching a larger target market
  • the Law Society itself – as Riliance complements its existing suite of products and services, including Lexcel and other Risk and Compliance products.’

Mark Gidge, chief executive of Riliance, said: “We are delighted to have the Law Society as our partner and look forward to working alongside them. The strength of the Riliance product combined with the Law Society’s expertise in this area will ensure the availability to members of a first class risk and compliance product suite that will significantly aid firms in becoming and remaining compliant.”

COMMENT: Interesting announcement on many levels, not least the Law Society getting into bed with a software vendor. The deal is also going to give other COLP & COFA software suppliers an uphill battle to get their products into law firms.