A Washington appellate court recently disqualified a county prosecutor’s entire office from participating in the re-trial of a murder case.  The chief prosecutor had previously represented the defendant while in private practice.  The case shines a light on government lawyers and imputed conflicts of interest.

Election win spells DQ

The county prosecuting attorney, Garth Dano,

It’s common for law students to clerk for a couple different firms during their law-school years. When a student law clerk you hire has worked for a firm representing a party adverse to your client, what happens? Is the student disqualified from working on your matter? Is your whole firm disqualified? Can you screen the clerk and solve the problem? Two recent ethics opinions out of Texas and Ohio clarify the rules.
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ethical screenSmall 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