Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Recent Risk Updates: Paralegal Screening, Ethics Opinion

Bill Frievogel highlights a few interesting updates. First: Fedora v. Werber, 2013 R.I. LEXIS 164 (R.I. Dec. 20, 2013) --
  • "Paralegal worked on the case for Defendant.  Paralegal wound up at Plaintiff’s law firm, which erected a screen. The firm neglected to provide 'prompt notice' of the screen to Defendant as provided by Rhode Island’s version of MR 1.10.  The trial court refused to disqualify the firm, but ordered the firm to pay sanctions for violating the notice provision.  In a procedural twist, the supreme court vacated the sanctions award.  The court noted that the trial judge had applied Rule 1.10 to a non-lawyer and also noted that the appellant did not raise that issue in this appeal."
Next, an ethics opinion from the New York State Bar: "Representation of Conflicting Interests" -- 
  • "Lawyer wishes to represent Client B in lending money to Client A (represented by another lawyer).  Lawyer may later wish to represent B in collecting the loan from A.  Lawyer may also wish to take stock from B in lieu of a fee.  The gist of this opinion is that Lawyer may do all of these things so long as Lawyer complies with Rules 1.5, 1.7 and various provisions of Rule 1.8, including 1.8(a).  The opinion leads the reader through the various steps necessary to accomplish these goals."

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