I’m Mike Guernon, Director of New Business and Conflicts at Orrick.
We have lots of different kinds of lateral hires: paralegals, of counsel, partner. The partner lateral process within itself, it’s kind of two-fold. First, you want to get an idea what kind of business and book they can bring, and then you want to get an idea of some of the more risk-centric questions: the parties they have relationships with, boards they’re on, things like that. So we’re able to just approach each of those functions and build these forms around it. And then, capturing the data, we’ll be in a position we’ve never been in before where we can
completely repurpose it.
If the management committee just wants to know how many times do we have partners that have done this, have been on these types of boards, have been in these activities, we can generate a report right now. Well, previous to the online lateral, all of that’s paper-based. You’d have to hire someone to rekey that into some kind of Access or Excel database. It’s not happening, but now we can make that happen. We can make that available to them.
The direction we’re trying to go in is, if we have their information up front as part of the lateral process, we know who they’d like to bring over, when they’re officially with the firm. We can auto create a bunch of new business intake requests, quickly get them through the system, get the client matters opened as part of the onboarding process, so they’re ready to hit the ground running.
So, for example, we use their outside counsel guidelines, and it’s part of a lateral process. When a partner comes in, he’ll tell the new law firm, “I have a great relationship with this client, and we’ve already got an established contract, and they really want to maintain the outside counsel guidelines.” The problem is, is if you don’t capture that correctly and timely, it kind of adds delay to their transition because you’ve got to go through a very lengthy contract with the, you know, Fortune 100 companies or all the major banks and financial institutions.
But we were able to work with Intapp to say, “We can match up the lateral process with the OCG process because they’re on the same technology and they speak to one another.” So, we’re in the position, now where we can architect that. So, as a lateral’s coming on board and they indicate, “Listen, I do have an outside counsel guideline with this particular client that I’d like to bring,” we can start the evaluation of that while we’re clearing the lateral. It doesn’t have to be one after another. It can be in tandem.
Well, what’s been great, we’ve been acquiring Intapp products just successively over the years. We started with their ethical Walls tool many years ago, and then we obtained their outside counsel guidelines (Intapp Terms). We put in their Conflicts database. And it’s kind of a slow-gathering thunder.
As the pieces come together, now we’re in positions where we can have our outside counsel database talk to our conflicts database. If we run into a conflict with a known client, we are in a position where we can say, “Well, what form of waivers have they granted us?” right there within the conflict database. We don’t have to stop, go look in another database, call somebody, and that would save us time in the conflicts process.
The lateral hire process, where we bring someone in, we recognize a conflict, and we get it waived, but it needs an ethical wall, that can now speak to the ethical wall database, so that we can seamlessly create an ethical wall as that person’s starting at the firm. Ethical walls have to be timely. This would add to that, you know, the requirement that the state bars and the judges typically want to see with an ethical wall.
The Intake product we have will allow us…as I mentioned earlier, when we have our lateral, we know they want to bring on 10 new clients. They say, “These are the portable clients.” When they start at Orrick, we can generate 10 new business forms and say, “Here are the 10 clients you wanted to bring on. Please just double-check the data you filled out, fill in what we don’t have, like, maybe a billing address, and we’ll get this started for you.” And it’s on the system. It’s not ad hoc that maybe gets outside of our regular system, where it would be missed in a report.
So it all kind of comes together, and that’s what we’re really excited about with the Intapp products. Because we’re in a position, now, to make these connections and really leverage a lot of the information, and that will help the entire department.
The ROI with the products, what they allow us to do, is certainly they substantiate the costs that we are paying for Intapp and the development costs. Because we can go back to leadership and say, “Look, these are all the functions we now can take on. These are all the value-adds that we previously weren’t doing that, you know, we didn’t even have an idea how to do, we didn’t even know you needed.” We were able to fill that void.
It works as advertised. And when we go to Intapp on innovation and we say, “Jeez, couldn’t it do this?”, what’s been great with Intapp, and also with our implementation vendor InOutsource, is they stop and think, “That’s possible, yeah. Let’s talk about that.”