How Legal Technology Can Double as Conflict Checking Software
One of the worst situations that can arise when onboarding new legal clients is making mistakes during a conflict check. These are serious situations that can carry a wide range of negative consequences for all involved, especially your client. The best way to deal with this type of scenario is to prevent it from happening to begin with by using legal technology to create a comprehensive conflict checking process.
If the idea of investing in yet another “legal” software to run your practice has you feeling hesitant, keep in mind that an all-in-one legal practice management solution can often act in the same capacity. For those who haven’t taken the plunge into any all-encompassing suite of legal tech tools, it’s crucial to understand why your manual method of conflict checking is doing you more harm than good.
Dump manual conflict checking methods
Whether you’re a new practice with just a few clients or an established firm with thousands, it’s impossible to remember all of the client case histories, parties, and related actions they have retained you to represent. Further, solely relying on your billing data only covers those you serve and possibly the opposing parties in their case. This leaves a gaping blind spot for other crucial information buried in a case file that could lead to a conflict of interest issue.
On the other hand, firms that rely on a technological solution, like a practice management system, will have the information of every person and/or entity that has ever come into contact with their organization. This reality has led a number of attorneys and practices to take the plunge and depend on advanced legal tech solutions to keep track of the countless details they need to record, including:
- Appointments and Scheduling requests
- Identifying documentation
- Other attorneys
- Points of contact
- And much more
This centralization of data has also made legal practice management software the most logical place to conduct a conflict check. However, assuming conflict checks should primarily focus on clients has been proven wrong time and again when other individuals related to the case pop out of the woodwork.
How your practice management software can conduct a conflict check
Depending on the type of practice management software your law firm uses, it can act as a conflict checker in a variety of ways, including:
Phonetically-Based Name Searches
How a client or related party’s name is spelled can lead to conflict check mistakes. Searching in databases and across multiple spreadsheets and emails requires flexibility and comprehensive results. Past errors involving incorrectly entered names can be found and corrected using practice management software that offers phonetic searches.
Searching across your entire scope of documentation
This is one of the most pronounced differences in the scope of manual conflict checking processes versus that of a practice management software. Instead of physically or virtually accessing every source and database that has your client information, if you can remember all of these locations to begin with, legal technology makes it possible to centralize all of this information instead and tie everything to a single case record.
The latest practice management systems also include online communication apps, like your email and instant messaging, as well as text communications in these searches. In addition, many of these software offerings provide this function as an integrated tool designed explicitly for conflict checking.
Checking for conflicts across past and present contact data
Being able to check for a conflict of interest in your historical data is also important. Before you archive away old case files and contacts you haven’t spoken to in a few years, think again. Save yourself the hassle of manually scanning through archived data and instead utilize your practice management system’s ability to simply filter out this older information. You won’t see this information, but it will still be included in the query when conducting a search.
You want a conflict check process that works like Google and can find every detail from any year in a matter of seconds. Legal practice management solutions can help you do that.
Providing result reporting that you can drill down into
You want to save on time and legwork with conducting a conflict check, and your practice management software can provide search results that allow you to drill down into specific records and their related data with just the click of a button. The best systems not only offer this type of feature, but also make it possible for you to reach out to your practice partners with a direct link to the record about which you’re concerned.
As you can see, to meet your ethical obligations and avoid conflicts of interest in the quickest and most comprehensive way possible, a practice management system is an ideal solution to achieve this goal. Instead of wasting valuable manpower researching a potential client, then possibly botching the conflict check results and causing further legal challenges, rely on automated legal technology to handle this important process. It not only saves time but can boost your revenue stream because you’re now creating more billable hours.
Discover the legal practice management solutions AbacusNext has to offer
Now that you’ve seen how a practice management system can double as your conflict check solution, you may be wondering what else this legal technology has to offer your law firm. Our software suites can boost your productivity and increase your revenue, including accurate profitability analysis metrics and streamlining communications with your clients, colleagues, and other contacts.
Learn how you can gain more control of your firm while improving the efficiency of your law office. Our legal practice management software helps you manage your time effortlessly, keeping your data organized and centralized while improving profitability.
Simplify managing your practice with purpose-built software and cloud services for your firm, and empower your practice with legal technology built by lawyers for lawyers. Download the free, LegalTech Practice Management Buyer’s Guide today.