Managing conflicts is integral to business operations at professional services firms. No new client, matter/engagement or lateral hire can be taken on by the firm without addressing this ethical requirement. Yet what once was a straightforward process has grown in scope and complexity as firms expand (particularly across jurisdictions), professional rules evolve, and clients increasingly dictate terms that exceed the standard rules for professional responsibility.
What's more, today firms must not only address traditional ethical conflicts linked to adversity, but also a diverse and evolving set of new scenarios including: business conflicts, positional conflicts, subject matter conflicts (particularly for IP practices) and playbook conflicts.
Addressing these issues successfully requires firms to keep abreast of industry trends, update procedures, collect and manage new information, and leverage technology to enable compliance. Without modern software that streamlines search, reporting, analysis and resolution — and supports broad access across mobile devices — organizations are at a significant disadvantage.
Traditional software tools for conflicts management have not kept pace with the rapidly evolving business needs of professional services firms, and the expectations of lawyers, professionals and risk staff.
They rely on search tools that aim broadly and frequently return a broad set of hits, but lack the native intelligence to prioritize key results and separate the important risk results from the raw results
They force lawyers, professionals and staff to spend significant time reviewing voluminous reports, often needless complicated with duplicate data – time that could be spent on more valuable activities
They sit independent from the firm business intake software, instead of delivering a shared, integrated approach to business acceptance workflow mangement, reporting, collaboration and clearance
They deliver a poor user experience for lawyers, professionals and staff, with complicated and outdated interfaces, configuration challenges, and limited mobile access (let alone native apps)
This experience is understandable, as several conflicts tools originated as search tools provided by vendors with a primary focus on financial management. But there is a better way, one built specifically for the requirements firms have today, and those on the horizon.
The Solution – Intapp Open
Working with customer firms with as few as 40 and as many as 4200 professionals, Intapp analyzed what was wrong with legacy conflicts software, and created a modern approach. The result — Intapp Open, the new state of the art in conflicts management.
The Intapp Open approach is rooted in clean data management and effective business process design and execution. The software supports conflicts clearance practices that may be centralized, distributed among lawyers/professionals and practice leaders, or both, depending on firm preferences.
Intapp Open emphasizes ease of use (particularly on mobile devices) and ease of management (enabling firms to change their own conflicts workflows and reports without vendor dependence). And it integrates data that enables broader client evaluation — including information from external providers (Dun & Bradstreet, Accuity, Bureau van Dijk and Audit Analytics), as well critical historical data from firm finance applications — so decision makers have better context to make informed business acceptance decisions.
Whether as part of a strategic push to improve client analysis and firm profitability, a program to reduce risk, or an initiative to speed matter/engagement opening times and improve productivity (and satisfaction), Intapp Open has something to offer every firm. And today, when mid-sized and large firms look to improve conflicts management, they overwhemlingly select Intapp Open.