Disqualification standards have their roots in conflicts of interests. When an attorney has a conflict that rises to a certain level, he or she is disqualified from representing a certain party in litigation. Though ethics rules substantially overlap with disqualification standards, those standards do not follow traditional conflicts analysis in every detail. Indeed, the relationship between conflicts of interest (and related confidentiality concerns) and disqualification is highly nuanced, varying depending on facts of each case. There are also substantial issues in the context of joint representations, including whether the disqualification of one attorney necessarily disqualifies co-counsel. This program will provide you with a practical guide to attorney ethics rules and their relationship to disqualification in litigation.
• Attorney ethics, conflicts of interest, and disqualification standards
• How ethics rules and disqualification standards overlap and vary from each other
• Ethics standards and tests for obtaining – or defending against disqualification
• Joint representations and disqualification – if co-counsel is disqualified, are you?
• Screening for conflicts of interest and the risk of imputation of conflicts/disqualification to other attorneys
• Ethical sanctions and their relationship to disqualification
Thomas E. Spahn is a partner in the McLean, Virginia office of McGuireWoods, LLP, where he has a substantial practice advising clients on properly creating and preserving the attorney-client privilege and work product protections. For more than 30 years he has lectured extensively on legal ethics and professionalism and has written “The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work Product Doctrine: A Practitioner’s Guide,” a 750 page treatise published by the Virginia Law Foundation. Mr. Spahn has served as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and as a member of the Virginia State Bar's Legal Ethics Committee.