Conflict Checking Software
Overview: Conflict checking software is an important tool for law firms to ensure they are not working on matters with conflicts of interest. It helps law firms easily monitor client matters, parties, and opposing counsel to ensure their legal work does not conflict with current or past clients. In this article, we will discuss the benefits, features, and limitations of conflict checking software, and provide examples of relevant products in the market.
Who Uses Conflict Checking Software?
Most law firms, especially larger ones, use conflict checking software to ensure compliance with ethical rules. It is also widely used by in-house legal departments for corporations, non-profits, and other organizations that require legal advice.
Benefits of Conflict Checking Software
- Efficiency: Conflict checking software streamlines the process of checking potential conflicts. It can scan client information and highlight any potential conflicts without the need for a manual search.
- Compliance: Legal ethics require that lawyers avoid conflicts of interest, and conflict checking software helps law firms remain compliant with these rules.
- Accuracy: Software reduces the risk of human error in conflict checks. It can easily cross-check against vast databases to ensure all potential conflicts are discovered.
Features of Conflict Checking Software
- Automated conflict searches: Conflict checking software allows for automated searches of multiple databases to identify potential conflicts. It can search client files, court records, public filings, and other relevant documents.
- Centralized database: Conflict checking software typically contains a centralized database of all past and present clients, including their contact information and related parties. This makes the process of conflict checking much more efficient, as all relevant information is in one location.
- Customizable search parameters: Law firms can customize search parameters to focus on specific factors, such as geography, industry, or other relevant data.
- Alerts: Conflict checking software can send alerts to the relevant parties if a potential conflict is detected.
Examples of Relevant Conflict Checking Software Products
- Conflict-Check (conflict-check.com): Conflict-Check is a web-based software designed specifically for law firms. It can scan a variety of databases, including the National Bar Association’s Database of Disciplined Attorneys and the PACER federal court system, to identify any conflicts.
It allows for the creation of custom search criteria and the ability to store information on all past and present clients and even third-party contacts. It also includes alerts and notifications for potential conflicts, ensuring law firms stay up-to-date on any potential conflicts.
- Intapp Open (intapp.com): Intapp Open is a full-suite legal operations platform that includes conflict checking software as well as other features such as matter management and workflow automation.
This software can scan a wide range of databases and automatically identify potential conflicts, with the ability to run customized searches. It includes an intuitive user interface and workflow automation to streamline the conflict checking process. Intapp Open also offers additional security protocols to maintain confidentiality in the conflict checking process.
- LawBase (lawbase.com): LawBase is a web-based legal case management platform that includes a built-in conflict checking tool. Law firms can enter client information manually or import data from other databases to build a comprehensive client list.
The conflict checking tool allows for custom searches and can quickly identify any potential conflicts. It is known for its flexibility in terms of customization and scalability, making it a popular choice for larger law firms.
- ProLaw (prolaw.com): ProLaw is a popular end-to-end software suite for law firms that includes conflict checking software as well as case management, billing, and document management features.
ProLaw’s conflict checking software can quickly search matter records, contacts, and calendar appointments to identify any conflicts. It is known for its simple user interface and easy-to-use conflict checking module. The software is also highly customizable, allowing firms to tailor the conflict checking process to their specific needs.
- Thomson Reuters Elite 3E (3e.thomsonreuters.com): Thomson Reuters Elite 3E is an enterprise-level software for mid-sized to large law firms. The software includes a conflict checking tool that searches a wide range of databases to identify potential conflicts.
It has advanced customization options and allows law firms to build their conflict checking workflows into the specific business processes.
3E is also known for the availability of multiple language support and multi-jurisdiction workflows. These make it a popular option for international law firms or those with a presence in multiple countries.
Drawbacks and Limitations of Conflict Checking Software
One significant limitation of conflict checking software is its potential reliance on databases or prior information. If there is a client or contact data new to the law firm, it may be challenging to identify any potential conflicts accurately. The automated nature of the software can also overlook certain types of conflicts, such as those involving informational conflicts rather than direct representation.
Moreover, conflict checking software can be expensive and have a relatively high learning curve, thus proving difficult for small law firms to adopt.
Conflict checking software is an indispensable tool for law firms to ensure compliance with legal ethics rules and avoid conflicts of interest. The software automates the conflict-checking process, improving efficiency, accuracy, and compliance. There are several excellent conflict checking software products available, each with unique features and capabilities suited to specific law practice needs. While there are limitations to conflict checking software, the benefits it provides to a law firm and its clients make it an essential investment.