Conflict Checking in PRIME
- Why Conflict Checking is important to your office
- It is unethical to represent both sides of a dispute.
- It is inappropriate to sue a client who has given you confidential information.
- You shouldn’t accept someone as a client who one of your clients has sued.
Often Conflicts arise, not from the same case, but from previous, unrelated cases. For example, a woman comes in wanting to divorce her husband. You previously represented the husband in a bankruptcy.
The following is a brief discussion of Conflict Checking in Prime.
Users are encouraged to contribute their own thoughts on Conflict Checking to cfwusers.
Where do you find Conflict Checking in Prime?
A Conflict can be checked in several different place using different tools. You can locate conflict checking on:
1. The Callback Screen (Conflict Tab)
2. The Eligibility Screen (Conflict Tab)
3. The Client Intake Screen (Conflict Tab and a button on the Case Notes Page)
4. Search Screen Choices (Conflict Search and Conflict Detail Search)
5. The All People Search
6. The All Phones Search
7. The Conflict Choice (on your Menu or Ribbon Bar)
8. The Interview System (If an non-client is interviewed)
Where you ‘conflict check’ depends upon office policy and what is most convenient for you.
No matter where you search for Conflicts, it is important that data is entered accurately or else you won’t be able to find a potential conflict. For example, looking for Mike Browne will not find Michael Brown, unless wildcards, ‘sounds like’ or phone numbers are used. When checking conflicts, the system usually checks the Conflict Table, so how data gets into that table is important. (All People and All Phones check all tables) The following explains how data gets into the Conflict table.
1. If an applicant makes it to the Client Intake, the information is automatically entered into the Conflict table.
2. If you get confidential information from an applicant but reject the case, there are buttons on both the Eligibility Slip and the Callback Slip that will force their information into the Conflict Table.
3. There are options on the Client Intake Sheet to Add people to the Conflict Checker. In some instances it may be appropriate to add them and in others not. That’s why there are buttons.
a. You can add the Non Adverse Spouse on page one to the conflict checker by pressing the ‘Spouse to Conflicts’ button. (Adverse spouses are entered just like other adverse parties.)
b. You can add a new name for the client (for example a birth name) or alternative spelling by pressing the ‘Add Other Name for Client’ button on the Conflicts Tab.
c. Contacts can be added as a conflict or a client by pressing either the ‘Conflict Client’ or ‘Conflict Adverse’ button on the Contact tab. It only adds the record currently selected.
d. Family members can be added to the Conflict table by pressing either the ‘Add to Conflict Client’ or ‘Add to Conflict Adverse’ button on the Family tab. It only adds the record currently selected.
e. When using the Interview System, it’s possible to add the person being interviewed as a client by tapping the ‘Add to Conflicts as Client’ button.
f. The Conflict Tab allows adding new adverse parties. Enter their information into the displayed table or, to add more details, click the ‘Add More Adverse Info/Letters’ button.
4. You can add a conflict directly to the Conflict table by choosing Add and Other and Conflict Non Case. This is useful for adding old clients, where there isn’t an intake sheet, or putting in persons who attend a clinic where personal advice is given.
5. If you are representing an organization or the adverse party is an organization, you should enter the name of the organization in the last name field and put ‘Org’ in the first name field.
Tools for Conflict Checking
1. All People
The All People Search Screen uses a very fast stored procedure to check all of the tables in the system for the name that was entered. You can double click on any row that shows up and the appropriate form will open up to allow you to confirm that the person found is the same one you are checking on.
2. All Phones
The All Phones Search Screen uses a very fast stored procedure to check all of the tables in the system for the phone number that was entered. An area code is optional. You can double click on any row that shows up and the appropriate form will open up to allow you to confirm that the number found is the same one you are checking on. This search is also useful for finding names on an answer machine message when you can only understand the phone number.
3. 2-2-4-6 Conflict Check
a. 1st 2 – Has the applicant been an adverse party. Has the applicant’s opposing party been a client
b. 2nd 2 – Has the applicant been a client before. Has the adverse party been an adverse party before
c. 4 – combines a and b above
d. 6 – Includes a and b above and checks the name entered next to the caption ‘Check Another Name’ against adverse parties and clients
4. Conflict Search
The Conflict Search Screen works like a standard search screen. It allows specific searches of particular fields in conflicts. It also allows the use of the drill down method. Entering a last name in the ‘Client and Adverse Last Name’ field will display all clients and adverse parties with that last name. Wild cards can be used at the end, beginning or in the middle of names. An * represents any number of characters. A ? represents a single character. Putting in Brown* will find Brown, Browne, Brownstone, etc.
5. Conflict Detail Search
This is the same as the Conflict Search but includes information from the Client sheet, such as Reason Closed, Date Closed and Case Type. If the Case Type was a rejected case, it may still be possible to represent the applicant who is requesting assistance.
6. Alternative Name Search
Our clients often have multiple first names, such as Billy Bob Jones. This can complicate conflict checking. Should we enter it as Billy Bob, William Robert, Bob, etc. The Alternate Name search uses a table I developed with over 2300 entries. If used, checking for Billy Bob will also check for William, Bill, Billy, Bob, Robert, Roberto, Rob, etc. This gives more hits, but also helps to insure finding a conflict.
7. Listed Name + Spouse (on Client Intake)
This button on the Conflict tab of the Client intake includes the client, the spouse and all the adverse parties listed in the conflict check.
8. Sounds Like buttons on Conflict Search Screens
This button uses the U.S. Census Bureau’s Soundex formula to find names that sound like the word you entered. For example, entering Bird will also find names such as Byrd, Beard, and Burt. It will find those last names for both the client and adverse party.
9. Report Pack A from the Report Selector – Report Packs pull-down.
The button Table-Common Adverse parties allows you to do a report of the common adverse parties in the system. This report has two criteria. First, you can enter the number of times you want the adverse party to show up. For example, you might want to see adverse parties that show up at least five times. Second, you can limit the problem code. For example, you might want to just see the adverse parties for landlord tenant (63) cases.
Surprising things can happen here. When we did this report using an office’s data, we found that some adverse parties showed up on multiple domestic abuse cases. What was surprising was that our clients were different women, rather than just the same one.
What Happens if You Find a Conflict?
This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion of ethics. However, there are basically two times you can discover a conflict exists.
1. Before representation starts
2. After representation starts
If you discover the conflict before representation starts, you should probably reject the case and put your code for ‘Conflict’ in the reason rejected reason. You might have a policy to refer the applicant to a conflict panel, your PBI panel, or to the Bar Association.
If you discover the conflict after representation, you might have to:
1. Disclose to each client that you have accidentally taken both of their cases.
2. Cease representation of both clients.
3. You might have a policy to refer them out to a conflict panel, your PBI program or the Bar Association.