Travers Smith has set up a dedicated panel as part of a more rigorous approach to potential conflicts of interest.
The newly formed committee can be called into action as soon as a possible conflict of interest arises.
Managing partner Chris Carroll said at least two panel members would rule on each case, adding: “Some of these things have to be activated very fast – that’s why we have a larger committee. People aren’t always around when we want them to be.”
The panel is made up of five senior partners: Carroll, senior partner Alasdair Douglas, employment partner Andrew Lilley, pensions partner Peter Esam and environment, planning and litigation partner Andrew King. Previously, conflict management was handled by Carroll and Douglas on a case-by-case basis.
Travers has called on the committee several times since it was created, mostly over private equity instructions.
Carroll said the firm was often asked to act for several parties in the pursuit of a single target, adding: “Sometimes it involves one partner being disappointed, but it’s more rigorously looked at.
“We’ll talk through the various issues in relation to the Solicitors Regulation Authority rules and guidelines and reach a decision.”
This year has already seen one law firm fall victim to a high-profile conflict of interest. The Lawyer reported (4 February) that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer had been dropped by Nestlé because of a business conflict with rival and fellow Freshfields client Mars.