Key to creating an ethically-compliant practice? Setting up a proper conflict checking system. It’s not hard and creating a solid system on the front end saves you time and effort. And possibly an ethics investigation.
I help lots of folks transition from an existing practice into a new one. My clients often are coming from a firm that handles this task for them, and thus are fairly clueless on how to set up a robust system. So, the conflict system is always at the top of our to-do list.
You can explore some general, helpful ideas on this topic here.
The system I recommend for my clients using Clio: when opening a new matter, create a Note within the matter titled [Case name] Conflict Check. Then add to the note all of the names (related parties) and any other information relevant to a conflict check.
For example, in an estate matter I can add beneficiary names:
This saves all of the names (and other relevant information), so when I run a check in the future, any matter note containing the search name or term pops up. At my finger tips, I have not only the name(s), but all other pertinent information I need to conduct a thorough check.
Build this into your matter intake system and you’ll create a robust conflict checking system that makes this crucial task easy and efficient.
And if you’re not using Clio, think about the systems you are using and how you can integrate the conflict check in seamlessly. Other cloud-based practice management platforms (like MyCase and RocketMatter) have similar tools. You can also use Google Apps (contacts) in much the same way. Insightly, a CRM I use for project (and client) management, also includes multiple ways to create a database for conflict checking (through both contacts and notes within matters, all of which are searchable).
So if you’re not using your tech tools in this way yet, go do it. NOW.