Conflict of Interest Systems

Common Areas Where Conflicts Arise:

• Representation of a client that is directly adverse to another client
• Representation of multiple parties
• Representation of a client when the lawyer has a financial interest in the client entity
• Representation of a client when the lawyer serves as an officer or director for the client entity
• Accepting stock in lieu of fees
• Lawyer engaging in business with a client
• Failure to document non-representation

Features of a Good Conflict System:

• The system is integrated with other systems; i.e., time and billing and case management;
• Provides easy access to conflict data for everyone in the office;
• Checks are conducted at the three key stages of the representation: before face-to-face consultations, before a new file is opened and when a new party enters the case;
• Searches check for varying spelling of names and all prior names;
• Conflict entries show the party’s relationship with the client;
• Checks are conducted when new attorney and staff members join the firm and their list of past clients;
• All parties connected with a case are entered into the system; and
• Conflict searches are documented in the file.
• A new client list is circulated weekly to all lawyers and staff in the office and is reviewed for possible conflicts.