Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., on Monday urged the American Bar Association to lean on law firms to implement the group's new anti-money-laundering guidance.
The voluntary guidelines direct lawyers to tighten their client protocols by identifying the beneficial owners of shell companies and trusts, and to improve standards for identifying the level of risk associated with various clients. It also lays out procedures to evaluate the source of client funds deposited into attorney-client or law office bank accounts and suggests the designation of a firmwide anti-money-laundering compliance officer.
Levin, the chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in February called on legal groups to crack down on client misconduct. Levin praised the new guidance, but said it is only a first step. "The next step hopefully will be for the ABA to undertake an intensive effort to publicize the guidance and convince U.S. law firms to implement it," he said.