It used to be when a lawyer was going to meet with general counsel, they were going to see a client. Today, it may just as easily be someone at their own firm.
With risk management increasingly fraught, avoiding client conflicts is key. Many law firms now have dedicated general counsel to review the terms of engagement letters, which include conflict provisions, and to advise partners on negotiating waivers.
The emergence of disruptive technology in law is not affecting how conflicts are handled per se, says one Toronto lawyer, “but it’s speeding everything up.” The bigger challenge is the contracting Canadian legal market combined with the consolidating business market, “which leads to us bumping into one another far more than in the old days.”
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