Monday, January 25, 2016

Conflicts Survey Shows Speed is Staggeringly Crucial

A recent conflicts survey conducted by HBR Consulting surfaces interesting details on the current state of the conflicts world: "Survey Reveals Need for Speed in Conflicts Clearing of Laterals, New Business" --
  • "A recent HBR Consulting Conflicts Clearing Survey of 12 members from a cross section of nine AMLAW 100 law firms and three Magic Circle law firms, confirmed the increasing urgency. Competition for high profile lateral attorneys and new business are primary drivers of the heightening pressure for fast and efficient conflicts clearing."
  • "Time to clear conflicts can win or lose business... According to the HBR conflicts survey, 58 percent of firms have lost business in the past 12 months due to a conflict clearing delay. In contrast, 75 percent of firms said client reporting suggests they have won work due to prompt conflicts clearance. Aside from the survey, there is anecdotal evidence from several firms indicating that delays in the conflict clearing process at least partially contributed to laterals going elsewhere. At a time when all aspects of a firm are under scrutiny, ability to check and clear conflicts at a fast pace is another indicator of a firm’s general operational effectiveness."
  • "Sluggish conflicts clearance can contribute to unhappy clients. When a firm wins new business, but has a misstep early in the process, a client may quickly develop and continue to hold a negative impression of the firm’s services. So, it should be a concern when 25 percent of survey participants said their clients have reported dissatisfaction at a conflict clearing delay. And some firms – 17 percent according to the survey – experienced both client loss and dissatisfaction due to conflict clearing delays."
  • "Firms are using a wide variety of staffing approaches. The survey showed a wide divergence in both the number and types of personnel (attorneys v. analysts v. clerks) in the conflicts groups. In fact, the standard deviation for the survey’s attorney-to-conflicts staff ratio was a surprising 23-to-1. There are too many variables to determine conclusively whether more personnel speeds up the clearing process, but in most operational improvement initiatives it takes more than adding resources to improve the end result."

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