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Opportunities gained from improved risk management

This is the second post of a two-part series examining the results of the 2018 Intapp risk staffing survey. In our first post, we summarized key findings of the survey, showing how firms are moving to centralized-staffing models to approach risk-management processes.  You can also learn more about the benefits of centralizing risk management and the results of this survey in an upcoming webinar, featuring speakers from Dickinson Wright and Greenberg Traurig.

Investing in technology to enable standardized, scalable processes across global organizations, these firms are taking a modern approach to risk management. In this post, we will examine some of the opportunities created by improved approaches to risk management.

New conflicts-checking applications

One of technology’s primary benefits is that increased efficiency frees time for us to spend on high-value pursuits. As sophisticated software tools have increasingly automated conflicts-checking, firms have been able to expand their conflicts-checking capabilities. Many firms are now able to conduct conflicts checks prior to introductory meetings, RFP responses, client pitches, marketing events, and other business-development activities. By introducing conflicts checks earlier in the relationship timeline, firms can identify disqualifying barriers before their time is spent aggressively pursuing a client. Many firms are also extending conflicts checks to include incoming administrative staff and new vendor relationships.

Enhanced growth potential

Once a firm implements a centralized risk team — one with expertise in risk policy and regulatory requirements, augmented by technology — it is well positioned to expand its footprint. Whether through lateral acquisitions, mergers, or the formation of new offices, firms with mature risk functions can support growth targets by applying risk review and due diligence at scale. These growth strategies present a number of challenges for firms — both operationally and risk-related — including a high volume of conflict searches, entry into new jurisdictions with differing regulatory requirements, and an influx of lawyers to acquaint with new processes. A consolidated team of experts, supported by intelligent and flexible technology, can conquer all of these challenges.

Better firm-wide data flow

Business acceptance is often the point of entry for a significant portion of firm data. Information entered on business intake forms flows into other downstream systems and can impact the firm’s ability to manage risk, deliver against client expectations, and win new business in the future. With a mature risk team overseeing the business-acceptance process, a firm can confidently perform thorough due diligence, and ensure that clean, accurate data exists throughout the firm. This data can then be utilized throughout the client lifecycle: helping lawyers understand and comply with client terms of engagement, monitoring a client’s risk profile for changes over the course of an engagement, or gathering insights to compare a client’s perceived risk and eventual profitability to better inform future strategic pursuits.

Explore the Risk Staffing Survey

As our Risk Staffing Survey results show, firms are widely adopting centralized approaches to risk management and business acceptance, and continuing to invest in sophisticated software to augment their teams’ expertise. It is no longer only a select group of large global firms organizing themselves in this way. As the playing field begins to level, we can expect to see innovative firms utilize the centralized risk model not only to increase efficiency and improve risk management, but to open up strategic opportunities.