FAQs on Disqualifying an Attorney

The right of a party to be represented in litigation by the attorney of its choice is significant, and disqualification of that attorney won’t be required just because that attorney has represented the opposing party in the past. Rather, there must be a violation or threatened violation of an ethical rule. Continue reading

Acquiring a Financial Interest Adverse to a Client May Be OK

The requirements for when an attorney may enter into a transaction with a client in which the attorney will acquire a pecuniary interest adverse to the client have been slightly modified by Cal Rules of Prof Cond 1.8.1. Here’s what you need to know. Continue reading

Representing Co-Parties? Send This Letter.

lawyers advising co-clients about potential conflicts of interestWhen you represent individuals as co-parties to a case, there’s either an actual conflict or a potential for one. That’s why you need to send a letter like this to both parties.

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How to Build an Effective Ethical Wall

With attorney movement on the rise between firms, it’s critical that attorneys and firms pay close attention to conflicts of interest that can come up when attorneys in practice for years are integrated into new firms. When a conflict is identified, firms can use ethical walls to prevent breaches of fiduciary duties and big hits to the firm, including disgorgement of attorney fees, malpractice claims, and loss of clients. Continue reading

A Conflicts Check Can Save You

thinkstockphotos-490180254A global law firm recently embarrassed itself by not doing a simple conflicts check. As Joe Patrice in his blog post for Above the Law explains, Dentons’ attorneys shot off a letter demanding a retraction from CNN for a story on possible ethics issues with Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, before a “simple conflict check” revealed that Dentons also represents CNN. You can do better than that. Create a conflicts check system and use it. Continue reading

What’s Confidential Among Co-Clients?

158997762Whenever you represent multiple clients on the same subject matter, there are confidentiality issues that can come up—and trip you up. Continue reading

Confidentiality Among Co-Clients?

ThinkstockPhotos-97050627Whenever you’re representing multiple clients with respect to the same subject matter, make sure to address the issue of confidentiality right at the beginning of the attorney-client relationship—in fact, you should cover it in your fee agreement. Continue reading

The Perils of an Attorney Joining a Corporate Board

ThinkstockPhotos-185025107From time to time, attorneys are asked to serve as corporate directors or officers. Watch out—there may be some serious perils involved for the attorney and his or her law firm. Continue reading

When Settlement Pits Client Against Attorney

482228991Settling a case that involves potential court-awarded attorney fees raises a big issue—a conflict of interest between plaintiffs’ counsel and their clients. But it’s definitely possible for plaintiffs’ attorneys to deal with this sticky situation with their ethical duties intact. Continue reading

Tricky Business: Representing Clients with Adverse Interests

470754185As a matter of professional responsibility, California attorneys must avoid conflicts of interest with current and former clients. Beyond these ethical obligations, there are also practical reasons to avoid a new client who is or may be adverse to a current or former client. Continue reading