Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Risk News Grab Bag (Conflicts, Fake Billing, Disqualifications & More)

Several interesting stories and postings of note:
  • Law firm represents both sides of LMM airport’s PPP – Controversy stemming from Mayer Brown's involvement representing the buyer and seller in a governmental transaction.
  • Time Capture Software as a Risk Control (Former AmLaw 20 Partner Jailed for Fake Billing) – "He stood accused of racking up significant charges and costing the client over one million dollars -- all for work never performed. This case highlights how time capture software might be used to identify potential "red flag" situations. Without throwing up "Big Brother" concerns by routinely auditing lawyer activity, it is possible to leverage this technology and automatically cross reference work billed vs. work tracked. In practice, firm management could say: 'If lawyers are submitting time records that exceed automatically captured time by 20-30%, we probably want to know about that and at least ask some questions...'"
  • Decision Provides Extensive Analysis of Standard for Disqualification of Law Firm Because of Prior Representation – "I’ve seen a number of recent articles pointing out that law firms seem to be on a merger binge. That, coupled with lawyers moving from firm to firm, as well as bankruptcies, securities cases and mass torts... makes last month’s opinion in Roosevelt Irrigation Dist. v Salt River Project... a good resource for deciding whether to move to disqualify a firm because of some prior involvement in a matter.
  • Using Online Service Providers – Where the Duty of Confidentiality Reigns – American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibility weighs in on "virtual practice tools" and other hosted software storing confidential information, offering an overview of applicable rules and recommendations on best practices.

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