Every lawyer or law firm, no matter how small or how limited the practice area, must have a conflicts database and a procedure to check and log a conflict review. Firms without a reliable attorney/client conflict check system ignore a systematic risk in their operation.
There is no question that a law firm conflict of interest system must adequately detect, identify and address any potential conflict. While the basics of an attorney-client conflict checking system might appear simple, in practice it is fairly challenging to develop a “bulletproof” system. A system that properly functions must be up to date at all times, easy for the firm to use at the time of case intake, and readily identify potential conflicts of interest.
If you are entertaining the idea of checking conflicts with a manual system or relying on your memory or just doing a search against your entire address book — think again! We are way beyond the days where it’s okay to have a manual conflict checking system. Every practicing lawyer should have a computerized attorney/client conflict check tool for identifying conflicts arising from clients and transactions.
Step 1: Maintain your comprehensive, master contact database within CosmoLex itself. (“Maintain” means “keep it current”!)
Step 2: For current and past clients, specify key relationships (e.g. link clients with other contact names and specify relationships such as spouse, adversary, adversary’s counsel, key witness, etc.) in their contact record.
Step 3: Before taking on a new client, run a conflict search. Save a copy of the search report in the case file.
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Joshua Dubs / Law Offices of Joshua Dubs, PLLC / New York / October 2017
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Rhiannon Jordan / Jordan Law, PLLC / Virginia / October 2017
"I love having all of my billing and accounting information in one place!! It is so nice to be able to track my expenses and my client billing in one software.”
Tracie Martinez / Law Office of Tracie Martinez / California / October 2017