Thursday, September 8, 2016

Conflict Best Practices: Centralization Rules



We've seen a general trend of firms moving to centralize conflicts teams and overall management. Here's the latest on this: "3 Ways Law Firms Can Avoid Conflicts Of Interest" --
  • "Law360 spoke with experts who shared advice on how to avoid such dilemmas. High-performing firms generally centralize the management of client intake and conflicts, according to Kent Zimmermann, a leading adviser on strategic growth planning at Zeughauser Group LLC. Although some firms pride themselves on being entrepreneurial and allowing partners to make the call on which clients to take or not, higher-performing firms realize that there are benefits to control, he said."
  • "'While many partners thinking about their individual interests are happy to bring in a client that benefits their own practice, it's in the firm's best interest before agreeing to work with a client that there's a view of the pluses and minuses of taking that client for the firm over time,' Zimmermann said."
  • "Firms often have a committee that oversees intake, and it's often to firms' benefit to keep those committees really small, Zimmermann said, since intake can be time-sensitive. He noted that firms should not only look at whether there's a present conflict with a potential client but also whether there could be future conflicts that could cause firms to lose money by having to pass up compelling relationships or other matters later on."
  • "Since certain companies, especially in the high-tech industry, don't want law firms to work for their competitors, according to Michael Rynowecer, president of BTI Consulting Group Inc., the most important thing a law firm can do to avoid a conflict of interest is to make sure they're in dialogue with their client so that there's no surprises on either side."
See the complete article for details on the other two recommendations: Be in Dialogue With Your Clients Think Institutionally.

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