Client intake:

How AI can streamline your client intake process


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the expanse of sanctions unleashed by Western governments against Russia-linked entities had a notable caveat. In May 2022, the UK and US were to ban the export of services such as accountancy and PR to Russia, but lawyers would still be allowed to work with Russian clients.

This put many legal professionals in an awkward position. [1] Whilst they might legally be able to work with Russian clients, should they? This is an increasingly prevalent challenge. When engaging new clients, lawyers increasingly ask not just whether they can (legally) engage with an entity, but whether they should (ethically). This is not simply an ethical decision, but a reputational one with major financial consequences. With anti-Russian sentiment high, many UK law firms cut ties with Russian-linked individuals and organisations due to the reputational costs of these ties. [2]

These are complex decisions that take into account a number of factors, but the key to unlocking these decision lies in true understanding of the potential client.

Existing compliance tools are ill-equipped to facilitate these nuanced decisions. PEPs and sanctions look-up tools provide yes/no answers about known risky customers. But what about those who are about to be sanctioned, or close associates of those who have? Though there have been wide-scale international efforts to find and identify these people, many networks are yet to be uncovered. And as we’ve seen, sanctions regulations are rapidly evolving, making it hard to keep track. This calls for a deeper research process to be conducted on potential clients than traditional tools allow.

Without the right tools and practises in place, law firms face two major risks:

  1. Missing red flags associated with a client during the client intake process. These can lead to poor ethical conduct, media and public scrutiny and potentially crippling financial consequences. 

  2. Inefficient compliance processes leading to long delays in client intake and missed opportunities. 

The efficiency and streamlining benefits of AI are integral to modern client intake decision making. AI-driven platforms can now take ownership of the deep research process that is essential for client intake decisions. The speed with which they deliver results is crucial to keeping law firms ahead of the competition.
[1] UK lawyers still able to work for Russian clients despite new services sanctions | The Guardian

[2] Lawyers cut ties with Kremlin-linked clients as reputational risks mount | Financial Times

Suggested reading: Maintaining and safeguarding one’s reputation is more important yet complicated than ever – get to grips with efficient due diligence with our eBook ‘How Can You Protect Your Reputation?’

1. Don’t miss the risk: find unknown unknowns

The recent information explosion is a boon for any risk or compliance analyst or researcher. It has transformed the transparency and traceability of sources of funds and fraudulent or corrupt activities. At the same time, the volume of information can be overwhelming.

An AI-powered background research tool is essential to finding and analysing the millions of sources of public information, quickly. Manual research teams, even when equipped with database and search tools simply cannot match this on a practical and effective timescale.

The kind of valuable, specific information that an AI-driven platform can uncover is critical to building a comprehensive client intake process. It is fast becoming essential for any law firms looking to maintain effective compliance and new business intake processes.

Say a new client approaches a corporate lawyer at law firm A to work on a merger. Law firm A’s risk and compliance team runs their standard search process to find that none of the companies’ benefactors are on a PEP or sanctions list. The team may also run some further checks on Google, inputting keywords such as “fraud”, “corrupt” etc. This whole process takes a couple of hours, and no problems are found.

Law firm B, (firm A’s major competitor) is also approached. Law firm B uses Xapien to conduct automated research on the client. Xapien’s analysis of open-source data takes 7 minutes and reveals news reports that the benefactor has ties to Putin. The owner is even believed to hold assets on the president’s behalf.

Law firm A is in the dark. If they onboard the client, then they might wake up tomorrow to a front page splash that they are facilitating Putin’s lavish lifestyle by supporting this merger. This could lead to an exodus of clients and employees with major consequences. At law firm B they can make informed decisions about the risks of taking on this client.

While many law firms aim for consolidated detail and clarity when making client intake decisions, it is not scalable without the right technology. Xapien’s technology can conduct deep, comprehensive research, quickly. This means that compliance teams and decision makers can make quick decisions about the clients they take on, fully informed of any risks involved. Even the risks they didn’t think to look for.

Key takeaways

  • Lawyers have the information needed to make complex ethical and reputational decisions. The challenge is accessing it.
  • Advances in AI, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and cloud computing power provide unprecedented access to business-critical insights, quickly.
  • Xapien provides critical insights to law firms on clients which enable them to make informed “should we” decisions.

2. Onboard the right clients, faster

The benefits of AI go beyond simply avoiding regulatory and reputational risks in client intake. Xapien’s automated background reports take 5-10 minutes. The broad and deep analysis that Xapien delivers within this time leads to massive increases in efficiencies in client intake processes, and bigger business opportunities. Law firms can:

  • Focus where it matters. Client intake teams will no longer waste time investigating clients that the firm will not ultimately onboard whether for compliance, reputational, ethical other reasons.
  • Onboard the right clients, faster. In order to stay ahead of the competition, law firms need to be able to onboard the right clients, quickly. But often, compliance processes are a drag on the business. With Xapien you can get to know your client in less than 10 minutes, which means you could be working with them within half an hour. ​
  • Deliver more tailored results. Xapien provides a comprehensive view of the client that and their business(es) and networks. This can inform legal strategy once the client is on board. Lawyers are able to deliver genuinely tailored solutions to their clients.
  • Identify new potential clients, risks, and opportunities. By revealing associates, networks, corporate and personal interests, Xapien enables lawyers to spot future risks and opportunities for them and their clients.
  • Make more strategic decisions. Beyond regulatory and reputational risks, the insights generated can help the firm decide if the prospective client is a mutual fit, with the firm. This can lead to more fruitful relationships for both parties.

Competition is rife amongst law firms. A frictionless client intake process could be the difference between winning and losing a multimillion-pound engagement. At the same time, keeping and developing those client relationships depends upon understanding the full scope of your clients backgrounds. With Xapien’s insights, law firms can benefit from comprehensive awareness of their clients’ entire portfolio, quickly.

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Key takeaways

  • Slow compliance processes waste money and deter new clients. Client intake needs to be quick and efficient in order to win the kinds of clients a law firm wants.
  • A good client intake process goes beyond risk management and compliance with regulations and best practices. Comprehensive research can uncover relationship-building opportunities, increase value to existing clients, and even entirely new business/clients.
  • Xapien is both quick and comprehensive. This means law firms can go further in developing their businesses through deeper and broader client relationships.

3. Make better-informed decisions, quickly

The fast, comprehensive insights afforded by AI platforms free up legal teams to redirect their efforts and attention towards higher-value, more sensitive processes. Xapien adds a magnitude of value beyond PEPs and sanctions checks, by identifying and analysing all publicly available online data on an individual or corporation.

Traditional research platforms refer to datasets and lists, and use keywords to search for information. A human then has to read, analyse, and verify the information that they deliver. Then the analyst must extract insights from it and consolidate it into a report. Common problems with this method include:

– Missed risks

– False positives 

– Search engine bias 

– A subject being mentioned in a negative article about an only marginally-related third party

– A painstaking and slow process for any human analyst or researcher 

Xapien starts with two simple inputs – a subject’s name, and one piece of context. It uses machine learning to search across the entire indexed internet. The platform uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to read the millions of results that come back. It then uses AI to disambiguate between similar people and identify matches. A “John Smith” that is being investigated for connections to the Russian government will not get confused with another “John Smith” that works at Waitrose. It will also read and understand the difference between John Smith who was doing a client intake software trial and who was on trial in a legal setting. It does all of this in 5-10 minutes.

But if insights are not presented well, they aren’t really helpful and can lead to further inefficiencies. Xapien’s AI both finds relevant information and consolidates it into a meaningful, useful report. Having good user interface (UI) is central to what we do. The platform delivers insights as comprehensive, easily digestible (and easily shareable) reports.

This means legal teams can make better-informed, quicker decisions.

Key Takeaways

  • Traditional research tools leave most of the work to humans. This is a burden on resources, slows down workflows, and restricts manual teams from better utilising their efforts in higher-value tasks. 
  • Xapien’s AI-powered background research platform delivers deep, relevant insights, in an easy-to-digest format. This cuts out 90% of the work, enabling humans to focus their energies where it matters. 
  • None of this matters if it takes too long. Law firms need answers now. Xapien delivers results in 5-10 minutes. It combines depth, breadth and speed, giving firms a competitive edge of their competitors. ​

Streamline your path to growth: Xapien Them.

The benefits of AI go beyond the speed, breadth, and depth of insights they provide.

Xapien empowers internal teams and gives them what they need to better inform their decisions and broader strategies. This means you can go further as a business.

Xapien proves a qualitative leap in capabilities compared to look-up/search tools. Xapien delivers guaranteed, in-depth insights for client intake teams that take analysts and decision makers from searching for information to making informed decisions.

Xapien’s AI-driven platform designed for law firms that want to stay ahead of the rapidly-moving competition. Its intelligent, machine-learning functions combine into a single Legal Software Platform solution that enables legal professionals to get a full picture of a client quickly.

This complete picture is not just about identifying and avoiding risks but also about uncovering growth opportunities. These include building deeper relationships and the potential for new, lucrative client and business intakes.

  • Xapien’s rapid in-depth reports bring previously inaccessible insights to any client onboarding process.
  • The full picture that Xapien provides enables you to form deeper, more fruitful client relationships.
  • Xapien’s intelligent research capabilities enable you to make better-informed decisions, faster.

Book a demo today to see how Xapien’s powerful capabilities can bring your law firms immediate growth and efficiencies beyond your client intake processes.

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