Careful assessment of potential conflicts of interest is crucial in helping to eliminate the risk of taking on work that violates rules of conduct, or that presents a business conflict for the firm. But doing conflicts searches with old-school methods can be time consuming and tedious. A single client could have hundreds or thousands of affiliates to consider, making manual searching and record-keeping a truly herculean task.
One firm’s quest
One esteemed law firm was determined to find a better way. For over 140 years, this firm of more than 2,000 lawyers in over two dozen offices across North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East has provided legal services across an expansive number of practice areas to its global customers.
Their goal? Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their conflicts of interest process.
When the firm’s risk team ran conflicts searches in their legacy system, it was not unusual that a single name could turn up many thousands of results requiring analysis. Additionally, the sheer volume of names required to be searched in a given day, month, or year at this large firm required a significant amount of time, effort, and people to keep up with demand.
“We might have 10 client numbers for the same client and 4,000 affiliate names on each of those 10,” said the firm’s Senior Director of Risk. “If you ran a conflicts search against a name, you’d automatically be dealing with 40,000 results that needed to be analyzed.”
It was clear that handling searches of this volume this way was no longer going to be sustainable.
The firm sought a new conflicts of interest system and vendor that, in addition to successfully handling its high volume of data, could provide better ways to manage that data, to reduce the volume over time. Their existing conflicts system, which was embedded in their finance system, wasn’t powerful enough to provide a viable path forward, and the firm began evaluating options from outside vendors.
iManage (then Elegrity) was selected as the vendor of choice, and immediately engaged with the firm to deeply understand their existing conflicts information and, just as importantly, the related business procedures in place around that technology. The iManage and firm teams collaborated extensively to not just upgrade the software, but transform the entire conflicts function by effectively leveraging the power of the iManage Conflicts Manager software.
The result? The time and effort required for conflicts searches was exponentially reduced.
“I have a conflicts search that I’m required to do on a bi-monthly basis for a particular client to adhere to our obligations of independence for that client,” said the firm’s Senior Director of Risk. “Conflicts Manager automatically tells me what's changed since the last time I ran the search – so, for example, I can focus on 3 new entries rather than all 10,000 hits that come up. The time savings are enormous: this search used to take days, and now it takes seconds.”
Learn more about how iManage Conflicts Manager provided life-changing process improvements for this firm in their customer story.