May 31 • 2 min read

Webinar recap: From client onboarding to client selection with Pinsent Masons


Despite apprehension surrounding tech in law firms, the release of the Anti Money Laundering (AML) guidance in January last year shed light on the pivotal role of AI in streamlining client onboarding. Now, a shift in terminology from “client onboarding” to “client selection” has emerged, as discussed in our latest webinar hosted by The Law Society. In this recap, our CEO Chris Green and Andrew Cheung, General Counsel at Pinsent Masons, explores what it really means.

The ability to select clients has become a fundamental concept that law firms currently grapple with. Society, regulators, and clients have different expectations, adding to the challenge. But for purpose-led firms like Pinsent Masons, they recognise the importance of assessing client alignment with their core purpose… and that’s where AI comes in.

Currently, law firms invest significant resources into the onboarding process, but much of their time is spent on research alone. Andrew expressed his preference for using AI and process automation to facilitate client selection rather than client onboarding. It shifts the focus towards the client’s appeal and associated risks, enabling teams to determine how to effectively address them.

Chris used an analogy to illustrate the role of AI tools in streamlining processes, likening it to chopping vegetables for a chef preparing a meal. While humans retain the need for judgment, AI can effectively assist in the “vegetable chopping” phase, which in this context means the information collection process.

“We assign AML responsibility to risk & compliance teams, who end up spending countless hours and days chopping vegetables. We then hand the partners a pile of chopped vegetables without any sauce, telling them to make do with what they have.”

Andrew Cheung, General Counsel at Pinsent Masons.

While certain legal requirements, such as passport identification and account registration, as well as obtaining third-party confirmations from regulated individuals, are in place, Andrew suggests that firms should embrace a risk-based approach.

By automating information collection with AI-powered tools like Xapien, resources are freed up to focus on understanding the actual risks, facilitating more meaningful conversations between compliance and business intake teams.

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