Conflicts and Confidentiality in Law Firms

Regulatory skirmishes and loss of clients – can your firm afford conflict and confidentiality misunderstandings?

The SRA competency regime, in particular, area A (Ethics, Professionalism and Judgement) and the well-established requirements of the SRA Handbook mean that these topics must be well understood by members of the firm. One of the most common sources of client dissatisfaction is the way firms handle potential conflicts and confidentiality issues. Getting this wrong can not only destroy client relationships but also lead to regulatory or legal action and loss of reputation.

Help is at hand! Our expert speaker, Tracey Calvert, helped draft the SRA Handbook and was a Senior Ethics Advisor to the SRA’s ethics team before leaving to run her own compliance business. This places her at the forefront of consultants working in this area. She will be leading this course which has been designed to:

  • Highlight the importance of firm-wide understanding of regulatory and business expectations
  • Help you identify and deal with conflict
  • Inform your use of information barriers and confidentiality
  • Give you key insight on the role of engagement terms
  • Show you how to manage the client relationship when you have a conflict
  • Provide you with the ability to weigh up the potential conflicts against future client strategy

This course will be particularly relevant to managing partners, partners, the COLP and compliance team, heads of risk and strategy, and any heads of department who need to know how to keep the firm safe in these circumstances.

Overview and the client and regulatory perspective

  • Conflicts and confidentiality – the client’s view
  • The regulatory framework – the SRA’s requirements
  • Outcomes-focused and risk-based responses
  • Taking a strategic view to risks
  • The wider reputational issues

Conflicts of interest

  • Types of conflict
  • Identifying conflicts
  • Dealing with conflicts
  • Systems and controls with worked examples

Confidentiality and information barriers

  • The legal position
  • The regulatory position
  • How should barriers be used?
  • The practicalities
  • Systems and controls with worked examples
  • Modern risks

Role of engagement terms in managing the issue

  • When does a retainer start and end?
  • Limited retainers
  • Clients expectations and the skill of effective communications
  • Over reliance on terms of business
  • Client’s own terms
  • International conundrums
  • Commercial considerations

This article was submitted to be published by Central Law Training as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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