Thursday, March 30, 2017

REPORT: NY Risk Roundtable

We recently held a Risk Roundtable meeting in New York, graciously hosted by our colleagues at Cravath and co-sponsored by HBR Consulting. Pat Archbold, head of Intapp’s Risk Practice Group sent in highlights and thoughts:
  • Engaging and open discussion last week in New York. For conflicts management, there is a considerable level of interest among the firms in moving for a more centralized conflict clearance model. One firm that recently decided to centralize has hired a non-practicing lawyer to pilot this clearance approach with a small group of early lawyer adopters, with plans to expand service in 2018.
  • As part of that broader roll out, it will hire more lawyers on the conflicts review team. But by its calculations the financial benefits of centralization in terms of reduced risk and improved client vetting will more than pay for the investment.
  • Discussion turned to appropriate conflicts staffing levels (an area we’ll be revisiting at Inception in May). Generally, firms see non-practicing lawyers as best suited for analyst roles. One firm explained that they have different levels of staff aligned and mapped to specific scenarios. For example, one class of analyst conducts “first pass” review of patent matters, asbestos cases and restructuring matters, with the preliminary results then escalated and reviewed by non-practicing lawyer-analysts.
  • With firms looking at risk more broadly, including financial risk, one organization highlighted efforts to address time leakage. They explained that their firm has implemented a system where lawyers receive progressively increasing financial penalties for every week time entries are delayed, with monies gathered donated to charity. In addition to raising funds for good causes, the firm reported a materially positive impact to the bottom line.
  • There was a good discussion around the different types of third-party content that firms are incorporating in to their business intake process. In addition to corporate tree data, firms discussed how they are incorporating financial content to better assess financial risk in the onboarding process to help improve realization and reduce extended receivables.
  • One firm was kind enough to share some screen shots of how they are incorporating financial data in to their onboarding software and process.
  • There was also great discussion on improving client data captured before, during and after the on-boarding process to leverage that information for future business development efforts. One firm shared how they use Intapp Open to kick off a knowledge capture process after deal closing that then gets leveraged in pitch development by their business development team.
  • To capture this level of detail, firms discussed about how they assign associates, staff, or in one case professional support lawyers to capture this knowledge. Some firms assign an associate at matter opening, one firm is reviewing time entry data and looking for the associates that billed the most time to determine who would be best to able to articulate the specific details on an engagement. Overall I would say that there is more happening in this space among NYC firms than I have seen in the past.
  • One firm described how workflow managed by  Intapp Open, used for business intake, feeds a global experience management database used to prepare the firm for pitches. This is a natural alignment across intake and business development (which we’ve been investing in supporting with our experience management solution). All of that internal and external data on new matters has tremendous value for business development, pricing and targeting of future new business.


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