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.
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Internal discussions among Orrick’s chief legal officer and other firm lawyers about a conflict of interest remain privileged under federal common law, a federal magistrate judge for the Northern District of California has held, in quashing a third-party subpoena directed to the firm — even though the firm still represented the client at the time of the discussions. The opinion is the latest in the line of federal and state cases that have been developing a jurisprudence of law-firm privilege.
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2016 Start, Two Thousand Sixteen.What was the most important development in the legal ethics arena over the past five years?  I was honored to be asked by LexBlog, the folks who provide our blog platform, to share my views on this topic on the LXBN network, which has 8,000+ blog authors.  But of course, the invitation also made

BatteriesCelgard, 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

ethics cubeEvery year, the Association of Corporate Counsel takes the temperature of inside counsel practice by surveying general counsel and chief legal officers across a wide number of sectors.  Unsurprisingly, the 2015 survey, with nearly 1,300 respondents, put ethics and compliance at the top of the list of chief legal officer concerns, together with data

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

Blind justiceAlthough 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

Proceed with cautionAlthough 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,