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Conflict Check - What are your thoughts?

As an arbitrator, how do you conduct your conflict check? If you use a specific type of software, please advise.

Please provide your thoughts/comments below.

Comments (7)

Not being an attorney, conflict checks for me are likely less complicated than those of attorneys whose colleagues may have relationships with the disputants or other related parties.

Philip Allen Lacovara:

I maintain an Excel spreadsheet listing all parties, individual lawyers, and law firms from my prior arbitrations. I review it for conflicts.

I also inform parties and counsel considering me for appointments that I no longer have access to the conflicts system of my former law firm, so I can only rely on my recollection of any relationships that otherwise might be disclosable. I assume that this is a common situation with arbitrators who have left law firms for retirement or other reasons.

Judge Gerald Harris :

I rely upon a good memory, a well-maintained Rolodex and always err on the side of disclosure.

I maintain an Excel spreadsheet that has eleven separate columns that has every arbitration listed in which I have been appointed an arbitrator. I remain active in law practice and also use the conflicts of interest software maintained by my law firm. I also send e-mail inquiries to all law firm personnel requesting "relationships and interests" in all lawyers, law firms, parties, disclosed witnesses (fact and expert) in each arbitration. I have a dedicated staff person who manages my disclosures process and has some personal knowledge along with mine that does additional review before each set of disclosures is issued (throughout the entire arbitration process). I use a prominently segmented form of "Disclosures and Conflicts of Interest" for all the appropriate disclosure and conflicts categories.

I depend on my computer, as augmented by the internet, to identify potential conflicts whenever I am designated to arbitrate or mediate. My concern in this area focuses on retired members of the judiciary who after many years on the bench and thousands of cases have no ready conflict check procedures available. This issue, respectfully, should be addressed by the ADR community.

Paul Nicolai:

Our billing package, brief accounting, maintains a conflict system. We checked the names of the parties and any of the attorneys and other people identified, including witnesses, and run them through that system.

I keep every email I've ever received or sent. If I've ever dealt with someone, I will have an email about it. I do a search on my emails for each person's name or firm. Doing this would encompass all areas of my practice.

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