Thursday, June 2, 2011

Risk News and Updates: Conflicts, Confidentiality, Disqualifications & UK Risk Event Report

  • Confidentiality of internal law firm discussions regarding potential client conflicts -- Hinshaw & Culbertson review:  TattleTale Alarm Systems, Inc. v. Calfee, Halter & Griswold, LLP, et al., 2011 WL 382627 (S.D. Ohio 2011). "How can law firms protect their internal communications from discovery when they communicate internally regarding the firm’s potential malpractice in an existing client’s matter?" In this case, the court ruled that the firms internal communicates were protected by privilege and not subject to discovery by its former client.
  • Report from Law Firm General Counsel and Risk Management conference in London -- Lisa Rohrer with the Hildebrandt Institute posted a summary of the GC forum they hosted last week. (Kaye Sycamore from IntApp attended as well and reports the event was very informative and well received.) In her report, Rohrer notes significant group discussion about confidentiality management: "...clients are increasingly asking law firms to assure them that data and files are safe and secure." She echoes others in drawing out the clash between the need for internal knowledge sharing and close access controls over sensitive matters and other information: "Balancing these two forces of collaboration and security will require professionals from multiple disciplines in the firm (lawyers, risk management, IT, knowledge management, etc.) to work together to design creative solutions. To find and successfully implement those solutions is another challenge to law firm managers in today’s increasingly complex legal environment."
  • Law Firm Suing to Allow Alternative Business Structures -- Arguing that it's about time the US allow non-lawyer ownership of law firms, Jacoby & Myers has filed lawsuits in several jurisdictions to change the rules: "The suit argues that, because of the fee-sharing ban 'critical sources of funding are unavailable to a majority of lawyers … which dramatically impedes access to legal services for those otherwise unable to afford them.'" [See also one State's move to change the rule, and the UK's more deliberative path to pursuing such models.]
  • Wisconsin Supreme Court rules non-client party can bring disqualification motion -- "...a nonclient party – one who is not a former or current client of opposing counsel – could have standing to move for disqualification of opposing counsel... Specifically, it allows nonformer clients to disqualify opposing counsel when opposing counsel (or opposing counsel’s firm) has represented a nonparty on matters closely tied to the case."

No comments:

Post a Comment