The following Practice Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Client and matter inception is an important exercise in protecting your firm, getting to know your client and what they need from you, and complying with a number of different regulatory obligations.
If you are dealing with a new client, inception is a two-stage process:
stage 1—client inception
stage 2—matter inception
In reality, you're likely to do both steps at the same time.
Generally, if you are dealing with a new matter for an existing client, stage 1 will already have been completed and you can concentrate on stage 2.
However, where there has been a long gap between retainers for an existing client (AML Guidance for the Legal Sector suggests three years or more) you may wish to treat the client as new and do both stages of the process.
This Practice Note sets out what you have to do in terms of client and matter inception and describes processes you should follow in taking on a new client and/or opening a new matter.
Before you can do much else, you will need to ensure you have sufficient details about the client to enable you to set them up on your system. The more details you have, the better informed your decisions while you work through your client inception process.
The Law Society suggests you should obtain the following information from the client:
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