May 7, 2013
Conflicts of interest can be a sticky situation for any law firm whether or not you are currently engaged in a malpractice suit. Are you doing everything you can to proactively prevent risk in terms of conflicts of interest? Do you have proper working procedures in place and how do you know they are working?
In my experience as a developed Risk Manager for law firms, the best way to make sure you are prepared for the conflict issues is to stay proactive. There are three key categories to consider when planning preventative procedures and policies.
New Business, Clients, Employees– Create procedures to screen clients and new business with all their associated parties as well as screening all new hires, both attorneys and staff.
Data Storage– Ensure the firm has relevant technology and procedures in place for storing and retrieving conflicts information. Establish procedures for tracking new parties added to existing cases.
Information Communication– Set up procedures for communicating conflicts of interest issues internally and with regional (or satellite) offices. Keeping information confidential is crucial.
At the end of the day there is something to be said for being prepared. Proper procedures can not only prevent a malpractice suit from happening, but can also make it easier to rectify the situation in your favor if it ever arises.