Importance of Conflict Coordinators

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In recent years The Canadian Bar Association has highlighted conflicts as a major client-lawyer relationship concern. In 2008 the CBA Task Force on Conflicts of Interest published their Final Report, Recommendations, and Tool Kit, again emphasising the importance of integrity in the practice of law. In order to effectively adhere to the Professional Code of Conduct set out by the Nova Scotia Barristers Society there must be a firm-wide standard practice. Conflict Coordinators will be able to facilitate need for assessing conflicts in a mechanical fashion. The role of the Conflict Coordinator will be to present potential conflicts in a timely and correct manner, thus enabling a fiduciary relationship, limiting liability, and creating ethical walls.

As professionals, providing a fiduciary service to their clients’, lawyers and law firms have a duty to avoid conflicts (Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, 2012). This means when substantial risk is more than a possibility the lawyer has a duty not to act and retain consent before continuing to act. In order to avoid conflicts the firm will compile all information under one system. Conflict Coordinators (CC) will manage this information with expertise and will be the most capable to retrieve important information. It is imperative that there is a standard practice to search conflicts in order to avoid discrepancies and inaccuracies.

Conflicts can arise in many forms and many instances. CCs will have access to all of the firm’s conflict information and will therefore be best suited to determine potential conflicts. Access to conflicts across the entire firm will help indicate potential concurrent representation, former client, and transfer lawyer conflicts. With the variability of potential conflicts, searching can be a timely process. The timeliness of presenting potential conflicts to a client is crucial in creating good faith; both in the eyes of the client and CBA Task Force. Courts have set a precedent to...
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