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The Escrow and Paying Agent Handbook

A step-by-step guide taking you through how working with a specialist payments partner can support you to complete the deal and deliver a seamless and secure payments process for all transactional parties

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Escrow and Paying Agent Handbook (940 x 900 px)

To close significant corporate and commercial legal transactions, legal teams often bear the responsibility of managing deal payments. However, this financial aspect is far from simple, often entailing manual processes that impose time and risk burdens on lawyers. With the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) tightening its grip on the use of client accounts, law firms are now more than ever looking to partner with trusted payments providers to support on these transactions.

This is where paying agents and escrow providers come into play, serving as essential allies for law firms navigating intricate transactions. Typically, these transactions are not only significant in value but also expansive in scale, involving numerous payees. Such complexity amplifies risk. This can result in misallocated funds and regulatory breaches, for example, underscoring the need for a diligent and reliable payments partner.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about escrow and paying agent services and how to engage with providers. Over the course of the book, you will gain a fundamental understanding of what they are, how they work, when to use them, some of the alternatives to consider and a few pointers on how to assess vendors.

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Inside you will find chapters on:

  1. What are escrow and paying agent services? 
  2. The payments process
  3. Pricing
  4. Managing cross-border payments
  5. What to look for in a payments provider
  6. What are digital Escrow and Paying Agent solutions and how do they differ?

"Paying agents and escrow providers work hand-in-hand with legal professionals to navigate intricate transactions and ensure that funds remain accessible and protected.

As the legal sector enters a new era of regulation, cyber risks and increased scrutiny on the handling of client money, it is more essential than ever for law firms to be fit for the future - and for valued clients when they need it most.  

Engaging with technology-led providers to facilitate a safe and seamless payments process for high-value transactions is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s crucial for continued success. Misallocated funds and regulatory breaches damage reputations and erode trust in legal advisers. Our guide helps legal providers fully understand the advantages of using different payment services.” 

Ed Boal, Head of Legal, Shieldpay

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The guide was written by the Shieldpay team, drawing upon our experiences of working with the UK's leading law firms to navigate complex transactional requirements and Verify, Hold and Disburse over £7bn of funds to jurisdictions around the world through our digital platform. 

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