Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Conflicts of Interest -- Staff Screening Considerations


Excellent article published by the ABA: "Screen nonlawyer employees for conflicts of interest," provides an excellent overview and analysis of ABA Model Rules, and compares/contrasts with various state case law, ethics rules and opinions:
  • "The ABA Model Rules apply to lawyers but not to their nonlawyer employees. Instead, the rules mandate that lawyers who hire nonlawyers must supervise their work and ensure that their conduct likewise conforms to the ethics rules."
  • "This rule puts the responsibility directly on the supervising lawyer to see that the nonlawyer employees comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct."
  • "The bottom line is that law firms should perform conflict checks when contemplating hiring nonlegal employees. If conflicts are found, having that information at the initial stage of employment will allow the firm to implement an appropriate screening system at the best time."
See the complete article for more background and a hefty serving of links and citations across multiple jurisdictions.

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