intappRisk Update

Conflicts Clearance Best Practices — How Firms Can Optimize Conflict Management (Sponsor Spotlight)

Our next sponsor spotlight highlights this article from Yelena Chervinsky, Director of Risk Consulting at Intapp: “How professional service firms can optimize conflict management” —

  • “Does your firm’s conflicts process take too long and yield unclear results? After bringing a potential new client to the firm, do you find yourself waiting days or weeks for a decision? And in lieu of a simple decision, do you often only receive a huge, complex report?”
  • Institute a disclosure policy. Your firm should establish a policy mandating that fee earners share comprehensive information about new matters with the Conflicts department or designated conflicts professionals.”
  • Wait until after matter approval to establish new client matter account. This policy ensures alignment with conflict check requirements and prevents opening new client matter billing accounts without proper due diligence and clearance.”
  • Make researching affiliations a part of your conflict check process. Your firm should determine which matters warrant this extensive affiliation research. Make sure to consider the nature of the firm’s representation and the practice area involved. For example, when dealing with bankruptcy or litigation cases, in which conflicts of interest are more common, it’s especially critical to identify your party’s affiliations so that your firm can respond appropriately.”
  • Determine when to exclude closed matters. To maintain the relevance and accuracy of conflict reports, your firm should establish guidelines for excluding and automatically closing old, completed matters. Without such guidelines, inactive client matters may overshadow active ones. This could potentially lead to large volumes of erroneous data in the conflicts database.”
  • Add conflict waiver terms into conflicts database. When clients grant waivers for conflicts of interest, you must integrate the specific conditions of these waivers into your firm’s database.”
  • Routinely circulate updated matter information. Your firm should establish a policy of routinely sharing new, non-confidential client and/or matter information among fee earners to supplement conflict checks. For example, if new parties become involved in the matter, their names should be shared and added to the conflicts database.”
  • Implement AI assistance. AI-assisted conflicts searching offers numerous benefits to firms: It reduces the volume of hits analysts need to review; It displays results in a way that makes them easy to analyze; It removes irrelevant erroneous and ‘false-positive’ results; It provides reasoning for its classifications.”

See the complete article for additional detail and recommendations.