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Conflicts Checking, Reconsidered

Conflicts checking a prosaic topic? Bruce MacEwen thinks not. As he explains at this blog, Adam Smith, Esq., the legal landscape is littered with uncaught-conflicts horror stories, starting with the recent high-profile U.K. case involving two Freshfields partners. Elsewhere, an Am Law 25 partner tells MacEwen of his frustration over losing a client thanks to his firm's three-day delay checking conflicts. Three big-firm CIOs report to MacEwen that conflicts checking is among the most complex tasks firms face. So if avoiding conflicts matters so much and firms manage the process so poorly, what is to be done?

"One answer," MacEwen writes, "is to enhance the power of 'enterprise search,' which means the ability to search across all the various databases inside a firm -- finance and billing, document management, human resources, marketing, client contact systems, etc. -- from one unified interface." At least two companies now sell products to do this, he notes. Another option is to look to outside providers that search across both internal and external data sources.

All well and good. But MacEwen believes the most critical conflicts question is a strategic one: "Is this client/matter one we want?" It is a critical question for senior firm management, he says -- and no one wants to get the answer wrong.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 20, 2006 at 06:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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