Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ILTA Conference: Ethical Walls/Screens & Information Security Session

From the recent ILTA conference: "Erecting Ethical Walls...Then What?" -- Culture, budget, technology, policy, process and staffing are all influencers in the development of an ethical wall initiative. With perspectives from small, medium and large firms, attendees will gain a greater understanding of what issues must be considered in all firms, as well as those of different sizes and cultures. Learn about common challenges, areas of focus and strategies to attack them. Our panel will share varied experiences in how to manage, staff and execute these initiatives; how to define success; and how long it takes to achieve success. Attendees will also hear about such topics as issues associated with lateral attorneys, new clients and existing clients/new matters where conflicts of interest exist. [Slides] [Session Recording]

The panel was moderated by Eric Mosca from InOutsource and featured speakers from Wiley Rein LLP (Doug Smith), Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP (Eric W. Carpenter) and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP (Leigh Isaacs).

  • Eric Carpenter (Lewis Roca):
    • "Over time what has happened is that as more and more information got recorded in systems where we tagged it with client and matter information and we knew the users that were accessing that information , we needed...  something that’s put in place using the architecture of the systems that manage your information... because of the volume of information and because the movement of laterals that has increased so dramatically in the last few years, there’s such an increase in the need for screens to be set up."
    • "But I just want you to think about how that’s evolved in your own firm to be much more of a job to keep up with – with segregating all of this information, and the fact that today you can’t just rely on attorneys to do the right thing. You have to prove to clients, you have to certify to outside auditors and insurance companies, so it’s really a very different dynamic."
    • "I think client requirements and client audits that we're increasingly seeing also lends itself to this. You know, we need to be able to show that 'yes, we’re able to do this, we’re able to do it effectively.'"
  • Doug Smith(Wiley Rein):
    • "I think one of the other problems I've seen happen... is screens because of mergers and acquisitions in the marketplace. We had a client, not a major client, but a client that had a significant presence who was purchased by a competitor and that competitor had a major conflict with us; now not a conflict per se, or else we'd have to discharge the client, but it was significant enough that we had to put up a screen – within the practice group, basically screening off a segment of that group from this other client... So again that’s just one of those things. It’s not that the conflicts process created this, or that an intake process created it, it’s just that the market itself created it. So there’s a lot of good reasons these screens have been evolving now. "
    • "You’ve got so many disparate systems and you have to secure across all the systems at the same time, not just DM, not just Time Billing, but those File Shares – you know, you have to be able to secure the file shares too... When we were looking at solutions we found a couple that could do one or the other. We were struggling to find ones that could do both."
  • Eric Mosca (Inoutsource):
    • "... we have dozens of clients that have used screens to take on business that they couldn’t have taken on otherwise. So they’ve done the most important thing and made money as a result of setting up these screens. So it’s kind of used in a different way – not as defense, but as an offensive maneuver, and it’s worked out incredibly well for a lot of firms."

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