Representing two or more clients in a business or commercial transaction is full of potential ethical traps. It’s essential that clients understand the potential for conflicts of interest, how confidential information is shared among the joint clients, how negotiating strategies may be altered because of the joint representation, and the real risk to the transaction if clients eventually develop unresolvable disputes among themselves. Counseling clients about information flows and obtaining a written waiver of conflicts from all clients are essential first steps but not the end of the process. This program will provide you with a real-world guide to representing two or more clients in a business or commercial transaction.
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William Freivogel is the principal of Freivogel Ethics Consulting and is an independent consultant to law firms on ethics and risk management. He was a trial lawyer for 22 years and has practiced in the areas of legal ethics and lawyer malpractice for more than 25 years. He is chair of the Editorial Board of the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct. He maintains the Web site “Freivogel on Conflicts” at www.freivogelonconflicts.com.
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.