Mitigate Risk and Connect Data and Processes with Automated Risk Management Technology
Risk mitigation is a challenging task that becomes nearly impossible when firms are saddled with disjointed processes and multiple data sources. Firms without automated risk management technology have difficulty streamlining workflows and connecting data, and struggle to quickly evaluate new clients and determine the risks and benefits of each potential engagement. Even if a firm successfully brings on a new client, professionals will still need to monitor risk and compliance throughout the full matter lifecycle, and ensure that all client data remains up to date.
“There’s a mountain of third-party data firms need to collect, including corporate tree, beneficial ownership, negative news, sanction lists, and trademark information,” said Eric Nerland, a Practice Group Leader for Risk and Compliance at Intapp. “Firms need a holistic view of their data, but it’s difficult to integrate all these data sources. It’s like running around the library and finding all the right books.”
On September 30, 2021, Nerland hosted a series of Intapp Risk Roundtables and spoke with representatives from various firms about the changes, technology, and processes their firms are adopting to lower risk. The roundtable sessions focused on five main topics:
- Ongoing monitoring
- Financial assessment
- External data
- Risk scoring
- Outside counsel guidelines (OCGs)
The ways firms are addressing all these issues continues to drastically evolve, as Nerland revealed. “Gone are the days where risk teams would just look at financial assessment purely from an ethical conflicts perspective,” he said. “Many firms are now using corporate creditworthiness information to understand where a client is in terms of accounts receivable (AR).”
Jason Ross, Director of New Business Intake and Strategic Pricing at Fox Rothschild, shared that his firm uses corporate creditworthiness to help with risk scoring. He explained: “For a new client, we run creditworthiness reports where we’ll get a score, make a decision, and move forward. Assuming we open the matter, we’ll also get notification flags within that system on any issues or challenges.”
Ross also revealed that, when monitoring clients, his firm relies on internal data — but only for existing clients. “For new clients, we use a third party,” he said. “We have an internal protocol tied to that third-party system, then provide our firm’s interpretation of the data we receive.”
Fox Rothschild is far from the only firm using third-party data to help determine risk and monitor clients. Patti Noelck, an associate at Quarles & Brady, shared that her firm relies on S&P Capital IQ for in-depth client data and Dun & Bradstreet for financial assessment of new clients. Terry Sexton, Director of Client Intake and Conflicts Management at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, also shared how his firm uses Dun & Bradstreet.
“We use Dun & Bradstreet for corporate trees as well as some financial risk indicators,” Sexton said. “This all gets done as part of our due diligence process for new clients before the conflicts check.”
To help firms better manage both client and conflicts information, Intapp offers native data integrations that let firms access key data from third-party providers — including S&P Global Market and Dun & Bradstreet — directly within their Intapp and DealCloud applications. Intapp Conflicts, for example, consolidates internal and external client data into a single set of search results. Using the software’s automated workflows, firms can lower risk and accelerate the conflicts resolution process.
Bruce Hamlin, Associate General Counsel at Lane Powell, shared how his firm utilizes the streamlining abilities of Intapp Conflicts as well as Intapp Intake and Intapp Walls. “We have a centralized conflict-of-interest system coupled with a strategic new business intake process,” he said. “Both rely on flows based within our Intapp products.” By connecting data and workflows with automated risk management technology, firms can better prevent data from become siloed or lost, and will gain greater visibility in terms of pricing, terms and compliance, and resource management throughout the entire client matter lifecycle.
Antonio Keys, Senior Conflicts Systems Manager at Berkeley Research Group, shared how he, too, hopes to streamline his organization’s “very specific workflow for opening matters” via Intapp technology. “Currently, we’re unable to monitor ongoing risks, clients, and sanctions” Keys said. “We’re now process of negotiating with Intapp to move to Intapp Risk & Compliance, which will hopefully help us with that.”
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