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Category Archives: Disqualification

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How far does DQ extend? NY appeals court says not that far, reinstating co-counsel

Posted in Conflicts, Disqualification
When a conflict of interest crops up during a case, Ethics 101 tells us that the "taint" of that conflict can spread, and potentially knock out all the lawyers of the affected firm. Model Rule 1.10, "Imputation of Conflicts" explains the rule. But how far does that disqualification go? A New York appeals court examined this question in December, and reversed a DQ order in a personal injury suit.… Continue Reading

Ethics opinion nixes use of verein names in TX, but firms say “Business as usual.”

Posted in Disqualification, Law Practice Management, Multi-jurisdictional practice, Unauthorized practice
As we've predicted before, the increasing globalization of high-level legal practice continues to create questions about forms of legal practice – in particular, vereins, a structure aimed at letting firms based in different countries operate under a unified brand. Mega-firms Fulbright & Jaworski and Dentons have faced motions to disqualify centered on structural issues, and now a Texas ethics opinion issued last month questions whether lawyers in the Lone Star state can use a verein name on pleadings.… Continue Reading

Violating confidentiality order results in lawyer’s DQ and referral to state ethics board

Posted in Confidentiality, Disqualification, How Not to Practice
Courts often analyze motions to disqualify by balancing the need to uphold professional standards against the rights of clients to choose their lawyers freely. The New Jersey court of appeals struck that balance earlier this month in upholding the disqualification of a lawyer who violated a confidentiality order, finding that the lawyer knowingly disobeyed a court order, among other violations.… Continue Reading

Celgard DQ decision– sky is not falling, but representing economic competitors still merits caution

Posted in Conflicts, Disqualification
Celgard, LLC v. LG Chem, Ltd., a disqualification case decided by the Federal Circuit, continues to make waves.  Insightful commentary from Ronald Rotunda is here; he notes that typing the case name into Google yields more than 5,000 hits. Last December, when the opinion came out, there was concern (see here and here) that if read broadly, Celgard… Continue Reading

“Comprehensive” ethical screen fails to avoid disqualification from side-switching paralegal

Posted in Disqualification, Ethical screens
Small may be beautiful, but when it comes to law firms, small can signal disqualification troubles that a bigger firm might sometimes be able to avoid, according to the reasoning of a recent opinion. We’ve posted here before about screening non-lawyer personnel in order to avoid imputed disqualification when a secretary or paralegal arrives at your… Continue Reading

“Appearance of impropriety” is now dead in Kentucky

Posted in Disqualification
Although almost every U.S. jurisdiction now has some version of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, some of us who have been around awhile remember the old Disciplinary Rules, which governed lawyer conduct under the former Model Code of Professional Responsibility.  (Or maybe you remember the Disciplinary Rules because you practice in a state… Continue Reading

No disqualification, even where parent and subsidiary are unified, district court rules

Posted in Conflicts, Corporate Family Tree, Disqualification
Although a corporate parent and its subsidiary may be unified in structure, that may not be enough to disqualify a law firm that is involved in suing the subsidiary while representing the parent. That’s the message the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently sent via its decision in HLP Properties, LLC v.… Continue Reading
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