Returning after a short period away from the office, I found the inbox filled with invitations to attend courses and join subscription groups offering support to compliance officers for legal practice (COLPs). Timely and worthwhile, no doubt.

However, COLPs and those responsible for all aspects of risk and compliance should keep in mind accessing the COLP Reference Group, a service for its members set up on the initiative of the Law Society. Enquiries to the group, made via, are dealt with confidentially and quickly, providing the enquirer with the opportunity to access thoughts and obtain views from a peer group of practitioners from a range of firms providing international, national and local reach and experience. The latter include Slaughter and May, Linklaters and Norton Rose.

This is not an exclusive initiative, limited to only a few firms. Those volunteering advice through the group come from firms that have invested significant resources in compliance over a number of years. They believe that practitioners benefit from shared experience, and are keen to ensure that knowledge gathered in dealing with individual enquiries will become available to benefit the profession as a whole. The aim is to provide confidential, timely and pragmatic support of use to those in practice, rather than theoretical or equivocal expositions of principles.

I suggest colleagues keep the group in mind and contact details to hand.

Robert Bourns, senior partner, TLT; City council member; chair, Compliance Reference Group