Peer to Peer Magazine

Fall 2016

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 8 of 91

10 PEER TO PEER: THE QUARTERLY MAGAZINE OF ILTA | FALL 2016 BEST PRACTICES The Business of Avoiding Business Conflicts The Business of Avoiding Business Conflicts Such conflicts of interest might include working with two clients in the same industry or starting a relationship with a new client that wants to confirm counsel is not averse to any of their affiliated entities. Conflicts identified too late in the game can cause difficulties, but working together within the firm, communicating with clients and utilizing the benefits of technology can help lawyers and firms maintain a legal space free of business conflicts. Identifying Conflicts Navigating potential conflicts of interest requires lawyers within the firm to maintain clear lines of communication, which is easy to accomplish when the lawyers all sit in an office together. For firms that have grown in size and geographical footprint, however, this can be more difficult to control and document. Increasingly complex corporate relationships and savvy clients looking to maintain a competitive edge make this landscape even more difficult to traverse. Basic technology offers methods to supplement the manual checks and balances typically employed during the business conflicts process. A search in a standard database used to manage conflicts of interest checks the names of all involved parties against previous and potential engagements, revealing where the firm's lawyers have documented a relationship with a similar entity in the past. The results are typically Law firms have always been cognizant of the business conflicts that can arise when taking on new work. Business conflicts can be described as relationships or knowledge which, while not violating professional responsibility rules, can affect a lawyer's or law firm's ability to be a zealous advocate for a client. by Eric Mosca

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