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-   -   Law - What is this "list" I keep hearing about? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=876153)

chaidragonfire 05-26-2019 09:38 AM

Law - What is this "list" I keep hearing about?
 
United States

I have come across this a few times in my career working in corporate offices for the past 20 years or so. In one office I worked, one employee was punched in the back by a supervisor and a huge bruise was left. This was also caught on security camera, yet the employee could not find a lawyer to sue the employer for doing nothing about it, as the employee kept getting the response "we can't sue that company because they are on the list".

This also happened to another employee who got fired for having a stroke on the job, which is against federal law. She even went to other states for legal help and was told the same thing, "we won't sue that company because they are on the list".

This isn't the first time I've heard of law offices stating this to an employee who was abused and tormented by another employee or manager while on the job.

So, what LIST is this? What protection racket are these corrupt companies a part of that protects them from being sued by employees they have illegally and maliciously assaulted and/or fired breaking many federal laws?? And what corrupt organization are these lawyers a part of, where they won't protect people from violent, corrupt companies?

So exactly what LIST is this?
How do these companies get on it?
Who or what company manages this LIST???

Telemark 05-26-2019 09:41 AM

I would hazard a guess that no such list exists anywhere.

Exapno Mapcase 05-26-2019 10:00 AM

I've never even heard rumors of such a list in existence anywhere.

That can mean only one of two things.

1) No such list exists.

2) They take steps to keep the list quiet.

I think the answer is 1) if it's 2) I'd head for the deepest woods and learn to live off the land.

Dewey Finn 05-26-2019 10:39 AM

My guess is that they're referring to the client list, that is the list of corporations and individuals that are already clients of that law firm. I don't think law firms will pursue a case against someone who already has them on retainer, or which they represent.

OldGuy 05-26-2019 10:49 AM

It's really hard to imagine a potential plaintiff not asking, "What list?" after hearing that excuse a couple of times. It's also hard to imagine every law firm in a state and the next state is on retainer. Yes I realize they may not have tried every law firm, but how many law firms does a company keep on retainer?

UnwittingAmericans 05-26-2019 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chaidragonfire (Post 21663431)
Who or what company manages this LIST???

Steve Guttenberg.

Muffin 05-26-2019 01:50 PM

Question for lawyers practicing in the USA:

Wilma calls you asking you to represent her in a divorce from Fred. You ask her a few questions to determine what the matter involves to help you decide if you should represent her. After hearing her out, including hearing some relevant financial and sensitive personal details, you tell her that you will not represent her.

A few days later, Fred calls up looking for a lawyer to represent him in the divorce from Wilma.

Are you conflicted out from representing Fred because of the conversation you had with Wilma, i.e. do you owe a duty of confidentiality to Wilma despite her not having been your client?

(Up here in Ontario, Canada, usually a lawyer owes a duty of confidentiality to anyone with whom they have a conversation invoking a lawyer's professional knowledge in the seeking advice or assistance on a matter, despite not necessarily having been formally retained or having received payment. Is it like that in USA jurisdictions, or do you have a bright line test that you use, e.g. written retainer agreement or invoice or payment?

Where I practice, this broad confidentiality issue means that for the most part a call with a potential client is usually enough to preclude me from later taking on the other party as a client. I support this requirement, and it works nicely in large urban centres, but the flip side of the coin is that it makes it very difficult for people who reside in smaller communities to get representation, particularly if their community is a fair hike from the nearest urban centre large enough to have lawyers.)

Tripler 05-26-2019 01:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnwittingAmericans (Post 21663609)
Steve Guttenberg.

The bible-printin' guy? I can see how the whole printing press would help him manage that list. . . ;) :p

Telemark 05-26-2019 01:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnwittingAmericans (Post 21663609)
Steve Guttenberg.

The Stonecutters manage the list, Steve is just the current copy editor.

k9bfriender 05-26-2019 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dewey Finn (Post 21663513)
My guess is that they're referring to the client list, that is the list of corporations and individuals that are already clients of that law firm. I don't think law firms will pursue a case against someone who already has them on retainer, or which they represent.

That is the only thing that is reasonable outside of tin foil hat conspiracy theories. Though I still don't see it as being "on a list", but rather, a conflict of interest.

When I went out to get myself a lawyer, before they could represent me, they had to consider who my likely legal opponents were, and whether or not they had represented them. That took about 15 minutes or less, and they came back happy to represent.

doreen 05-26-2019 04:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OldGuy (Post 21663528)
It's really hard to imagine a potential plaintiff not asking, "What list?" after hearing that excuse a couple of times. It's also hard to imagine every law firm in a state and the next state is on retainer. Yes I realize they may not have tried every law firm, but how many law firms does a company keep on retainer?

Not many - but I suspect that these people are not calling solo practitioners or small partnerships, either. If there are only three "law firms" big enough to be worthy of being called a "firm" in the area, it is entirely possible that a company has used all three at one time or another.

CookingWithGas 05-26-2019 04:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dewey Finn (Post 21663513)
My guess is that they're referring to the client list, that is the list of corporations and individuals that are already clients of that law firm. I don't think law firms will pursue a case against someone who already has them on retainer, or which they represent.

But a corporation can't put every law firm in the country on retainer.

I met a woman a couple of years ago who had gotten into a very nasty divorce and she put the top nine law firms in her city on retainer so her husband couldn't use them in the divorce case.

Dewey Finn 05-26-2019 04:24 PM

Of course a corporation can't put every law firm in the country on retainer. (Although a large company with operations all over the place probably does do business with many law firms.) I don't think anyone is saying that all the law firms turned down the case. We're only hearing a third- or fourth-hand retelling of the story so the details may be muddled.

UltraVires 05-26-2019 08:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Muffin (Post 21663750)
Question for lawyers practicing in the USA:

Wilma calls you asking you to represent her in a divorce from Fred. You ask her a few questions to determine what the matter involves to help you decide if you should represent her. After hearing her out, including hearing some relevant financial and sensitive personal details, you tell her that you will not represent her.

A few days later, Fred calls up looking for a lawyer to represent him in the divorce from Wilma.

Are you conflicted out from representing Fred because of the conversation you had with Wilma, i.e. do you owe a duty of confidentiality to Wilma despite her not having been your client?

(Up here in Ontario, Canada, usually a lawyer owes a duty of confidentiality to anyone with whom they have a conversation invoking a lawyer's professional knowledge in the seeking advice or assistance on a matter, despite not necessarily having been formally retained or having received payment. Is it like that in USA jurisdictions, or do you have a bright line test that you use, e.g. written retainer agreement or invoice or payment?

Where I practice, this broad confidentiality issue means that for the most part a call with a potential client is usually enough to preclude me from later taking on the other party as a client. I support this requirement, and it works nicely in large urban centres, but the flip side of the coin is that it makes it very difficult for people who reside in smaller communities to get representation, particularly if their community is a fair hike from the nearest urban centre large enough to have lawyers.)

Yes. I would be ethically precluded from representing Fred.

Muffin 05-26-2019 09:29 PM

Thanks.

Muffin 05-26-2019 09:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CookingWithGas (Post 21663948)
But a corporation can't put every law firm in the country on retainer.

I met a woman a couple of years ago who had gotten into a very nasty divorce and she put the top nine law firms in her city on retainer so her husband couldn't use them in the divorce case.

I come across something like that a few times a year.

Sometimes a spouse will consult with many family lawyers so as to conflict them out from representing the other spouse.

Sometimes a spouse will be such an awful person that they will consult with many family lawyers (which conflicts them all out) before finding one who will take them on as a client.

Either way, it leads to one of the parties either unrepresented or having to find a lawyer from out of town, which can get very expensive.

Melbourne 05-27-2019 04:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UltraVires (Post 21664299)
Yes. I would be ethically precluded from representing Fred.

Also true for Expert Witnesses. Never read the case notes until you are contracted.

kayaker 05-27-2019 07:33 AM

I know a woman who had a difficult time finding a local lawyer to represent her when she divorced her husband, a local lawyer.

Joey P 05-27-2019 07:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Muffin (Post 21663750)
Question for lawyers practicing in the USA:

Wilma calls you asking you to represent her in a divorce from Fred. You ask her a few questions to determine what the matter involves to help you decide if you should represent her. After hearing her out, including hearing some relevant financial and sensitive personal details, you tell her that you will not represent her.

A few days later, Fred calls up looking for a lawyer to represent him in the divorce from Wilma.

Are you conflicted out from representing Fred because of the conversation you had with Wilma, i.e. do you owe a duty of confidentiality to Wilma despite her not having been your client?

(Up here in Ontario, Canada, usually a lawyer owes a duty of confidentiality to anyone with whom they have a conversation invoking a lawyer's professional knowledge in the seeking advice or assistance on a matter, despite not necessarily having been formally retained or having received payment. Is it like that in USA jurisdictions, or do you have a bright line test that you use, e.g. written retainer agreement or invoice or payment?

Where I practice, this broad confidentiality issue means that for the most part a call with a potential client is usually enough to preclude me from later taking on the other party as a client. I support this requirement, and it works nicely in large urban centres, but the flip side of the coin is that it makes it very difficult for people who reside in smaller communities to get representation, particularly if their community is a fair hike from the nearest urban centre large enough to have lawyers.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by UltraVires (Post 21664299)
Yes. I would be ethically precluded from representing Fred.

I've seen that used once or twice on TV (Sopranos may have done it). A divorce is impending, one spouse, usually the one that's trying to protect their money, will have a consultation with every divorce lawyer in town. The idea being that the other spouse has a very difficult time trying to find someone to represent them.

Steve McQwark 05-27-2019 03:41 PM

My wife used to be an attorney and I seem to recall her talking about something called a Chinese wall. As I understood it, the idea was that a firm could represent parties with potential conflicts of interest as long as the attorneys involved did not exchange any information. Not both sides in the same case, obviously, but if say A was suing B and the firm was representing A, they could also represent B in some completely unrelated case as long as the attorneys did not exchange any information. This doesn't work for individual attorneys of course, but a large firm should be able to do it.

UltraVires 05-27-2019 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve McQwark (Post 21665332)
My wife used to be an attorney and I seem to recall her talking about something called a Chinese wall. As I understood it, the idea was that a firm could represent parties with potential conflicts of interest as long as the attorneys involved did not exchange any information. Not both sides in the same case, obviously, but if say A was suing B and the firm was representing A, they could also represent B in some completely unrelated case as long as the attorneys did not exchange any information. This doesn't work for individual attorneys of course, but a large firm should be able to do it.

This is a state by state thing. West Virginia in particular does not allow the Chinese Wall.

The general rule is that you may not be adverse to a current client (and client involves these consultations discussed above) in any case.

You may not be adverse to a former client in a same or similar case.

The "same or similar" can come with a bunch of caveats. Imagine if I represent Fred against Barbara in a divorce. Fred confides in me that he has a serious drinking problem and wants me to know that because Barbara will use it against him for child custody purposes.

Two years later, Dave sues Fred in a car accident case. I must decline representing Dave, even though the case is not similar, because I then almost must use Fred's drinking problem against him: information that I acquired in confidence.

bob++ 05-27-2019 04:29 PM

In the UK, while an individual barrister might well be conflicted, it would not affect another barrister in the same chambers and both sides could well be represented by barristers who share a room in their chambers. This is because they are not employed but are individuals whose loyalty is only to the client.

When your tricky case breaks for (a long) lunch and you pop over from the law courts to the Wig and Pen for a sandwich and a pint, and you see your and the other side's barristers having lunch with the judge, you just have to rely on their sense of ethics.

Steve McQwark 05-27-2019 04:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UltraVires (Post 21665389)
This is a state by state thing. West Virginia in particular does not allow the Chinese Wall.

The general rule is that you may not be adverse to a current client (and client involves these consultations discussed above) in any case.

You may not be adverse to a former client in a same or similar case.

The "same or similar" can come with a bunch of caveats. Imagine if I represent Fred against Barbara in a divorce. Fred confides in me that he has a serious drinking problem and wants me to know that because Barbara will use it against him for child custody purposes.

Two years later, Dave sues Fred in a car accident case. I must decline representing Dave, even though the case is not similar, because I then almost must use Fred's drinking problem against him: information that I acquired in confidence.

Interesting. My wife worked in Texas, so I assume the rules must be different here. What you say certainly makes sense for an individual attorney, but doesn't seem as if it would need to be quite so stringent for a firm with dozens of attorneys working in several different states. I assume the rule is to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Czarcasm 05-27-2019 04:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve McQwark (Post 21665332)
My wife used to be an attorney and I seem to recall her talking about something called a Chinese wall. As I understood it, the idea was that a firm could represent parties with potential conflicts of interest as long as the attorneys involved did not exchange any information. Not both sides in the same case, obviously, but if say A was suing B and the firm was representing A, they could also represent B in some completely unrelated case as long as the attorneys did not exchange any information. This doesn't work for individual attorneys of course, but a large firm should be able to do it.

Wouldn't a large firm dedicated to making money be tempted to favor the larger party?

Steve McQwark 05-27-2019 04:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bob++ (Post 21665412)
In the UK, while an individual barrister might well be conflicted, it would not affect another barrister in the same chambers and both sides could well be represented by barristers who share a room in their chambers. This is because they are not employed but are individuals whose loyalty is only to the client.

When your tricky case breaks for (a long) lunch and you pop over from the law courts to the Wig and Pen for a sandwich and a pint, and you see your and the other side's barristers having lunch with the judge, you just have to rely on their sense of ethics.

Pardon my ignorance, but what does "share a room in their chambers" mean? Are all UK barristers considered independent even if they work for a firm or is it two barristers who happen to share office space to save on rent?

Steve McQwark 05-27-2019 05:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Czarcasm (Post 21665433)
Wouldn't a large firm dedicated to making money be tempted to favor the larger party?

I think the idea is something like, if Bill is representing A Co. in a patent lawsuit against B Ltd. and then B Ltd. tries to hire Susan to represent them in a wrongful termination suit, it might be possible to do that without violating any ethics rules. Bill and Susan might work in different offices and not even know each other. Or maybe they know each other but Bill does patent law and Susan does labor law and they have no knowledge of each other's cases. So, I think the idea is to make as much money as possible from both the larger party and the smaller party without violating any ethics rules. But, I'll be honest, it's been 10 or 15 years since my wife told me this and I may have misunderstood how it works. Or, as UltraVires pointed out, it's a state-by-state thing and maybe I've understood it correctly for Texas, but it works differently in whatever state the "list" exists in.

UltraVires 05-27-2019 05:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve McQwark (Post 21665488)
I think the idea is something like, if Bill is representing A Co. in a patent lawsuit against B Ltd. and then B Ltd. tries to hire Susan to represent them in a wrongful termination suit, it might be possible to do that without violating any ethics rules. Bill and Susan might work in different offices and not even know each other. Or maybe they know each other but Bill does patent law and Susan does labor law and they have no knowledge of each other's cases. So, I think the idea is to make as much money as possible from both the larger party and the smaller party without violating any ethics rules. But, I'll be honest, it's been 10 or 15 years since my wife told me this and I may have misunderstood how it works. Or, as UltraVires pointed out, it's a state-by-state thing and maybe I've understood it correctly for Texas, but it works differently in whatever state the "list" exists in.

Just to be clear, WV is in the vast minority. Most states allow the Chinese Wall.

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that "large" firms have a different definition in WV than in TX. We don't have these mega-firms in multiple states. Hell, our largest city only has 60,000 people.

The large firms (by our definition) have been trying for years to get the Chinese Wall allowed in WV. The argument against it is one of perception. People think that lawyers are all sleazy and corrupt anyways and don't need any additional help by having these types of ethical loopholes. So what is a person to think when they hired Smith Law Firm two years ago, but now Smith Law Firm is suing them with the promise that the confidential information is shielded from the attorney that is now suing them?

They think, "Sure, those fucking asshole lawyers are doing everything they can to screw me and I don't trust them."

Northern Piper 05-27-2019 07:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve McQwark (Post 21665440)
Pardon my ignorance, but what does "share a room in their chambers" mean? Are all UK barristers considered independent even if they work for a firm or is it two barristers who happen to share office space to save on rent?



Barristers aren't in professional partnerships, unlike solicitors in the U.K., and lawyers in North America. They can share chambers on a contractual basis, hire support staff jointly, and so on, but they're not partners.

They're retained in a case-by-case basis by the solicitor who acts for the litigant. They don't have a direct contractual relationship with their litigant client.

It's a system that is designed to encourage independence on the part of barristers.

It also means that two barristers may be in the same chambers, but they're not partners or employees, so can act without the sort of restriction that applies to lawyers in a partnership.

While that means that there may not be a professional bar to two barristers in the same chambers acting against each other, there still would be a professional duty of confidentiality to their clients, which could take some managing if they're in the same chambers.

UltraVires 05-27-2019 07:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Piper (Post 21665636)
Barristers aren't in professional partnerships, unlike solicitors in the U.K., and lawyers in North America. They can share chambers on a contractual basis, hire support staff jointly, and so on, but they're not partners.

They're retained in a case-by-case basis by the solicitor who acts for the litigant. They don't have a direct contractual relationship with their litigant client.

It's a system that is designed to encourage independence on the part of barristers.

It also means that two barristers may be in the same chambers, but they're not partners or employees, so can act without the sort of restriction that applies to lawyers in a partnership.

While that means that there may not be a professional bar to two barristers in the same chambers acting against each other, there still would be a professional duty of confidentiality to their clients, which could take some managing if they're in the same chambers.

What American English word would we use for "chambers" how you are using it? Offices?

UDS 05-27-2019 08:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UltraVires (Post 21665641)
What American English word would we use for "chambers" how you are using it? Offices?

A "chambers" is a bunch of barristers who share office space, support staff, etc without being in a business partnership with one another, or having any interest in one another's earnings. You could think of it as a purchasing co-op whereby a bunch of self-employed sole traders pool their resources to buy accommodation, support services, resources, facilities, etc that they can all use.

Typically, they will all be on one premises, and that premises will also be referred to as their "chambers".

Dewey Finn 05-27-2019 08:20 PM

That sounds like a co-working space.

Isamu 05-27-2019 08:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UltraVires (Post 21665641)
What American English word would we use for "chambers" how you are using it? Offices?

You would say "chambers" because you don't have an equivalent entity. Just like you would call a kimono a kimono, because you don't have an equivalent. It's not just a shared office space - it's an association, run by a clerk who maintains the premises and sometimes decides which cases get given to which barristers.

Steve McQwark 05-27-2019 10:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Piper (Post 21665636)
Barristers aren't in professional partnerships, unlike solicitors in the U.K., and lawyers in North America. They can share chambers on a contractual basis, hire support staff jointly, and so on, but they're not partners.

They're retained in a case-by-case basis by the solicitor who acts for the litigant. They don't have a direct contractual relationship with their litigant client.

It's a system that is designed to encourage independence on the part of barristers.

It also means that two barristers may be in the same chambers, but they're not partners or employees, so can act without the sort of restriction that applies to lawyers in a partnership.

While that means that there may not be a professional bar to two barristers in the same chambers acting against each other, there still would be a professional duty of confidentiality to their clients, which could take some managing if they're in the same chambers.

Well, son of a gun, I had thought barrister was just another word for lawyer, but your answer sent me to Google and I have now been enlightened on the differences between barristers, solicitors and lawyers. And chambers makes sense now as well. Thank you.

Northern Piper 05-27-2019 10:07 PM

In Canada we have a limited Chinese wall, to allow individual lawyers to transfer from one firm to another.

If Lawyer Smith works for Black and White, Barristers & Solicitors, but gets a job offer from Shades, Of, Grey, LLP, the Shades firm will inquire if Smith has worked on any files that involve Shades, and has any confidential information. If so, Smith will be segregated from those files, can't work on them, has to leave the room if they're discussed, and so on. But it's transitional: eventually that file will wrap up.

I've never heard of a case where a Chinese Wall is built in a firm on an ongoing basis to allow Smith to work on a file, against Jones in the same firm. That's an appearance of conflict and a breach of the firm's duty of loyalty to their client.

nearwildheaven 05-27-2019 10:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Muffin (Post 21664363)
I come across something like that a few times a year.

Sometimes a spouse will consult with many family lawyers so as to conflict them out from representing the other spouse.

Sometimes a spouse will be such an awful person that they will consult with many family lawyers (which conflicts them all out) before finding one who will take them on as a client.

Either way, it leads to one of the parties either unrepresented or having to find a lawyer from out of town, which can get very expensive.

I remember when the infamous Betty Broderick represented herself in both her divorce and the murder trial after she killed her ex-husband and his second wife (or in at least one of those cases) because she claimed that she couldn't get legal representation due to her husband being the president of the local attorney's association. A talking head on the program replied, "The vast majority of lawyers in that city would never have heard of him, and even if he was their best friend, it wouldn't have mattered as long as they were paid."

I was also noodling around on my local court blotter, and found a divorce case where about 10 attorneys recused themselves from the case at the same time. THAT must have been a doozy of a split.

Isamu 05-27-2019 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nearwildheaven (Post 21665831)
I remember when the infamous Betty Broderick represented herself in both her divorce and the murder trial after she killed her ex-husband and his second wife (or in at least one of those cases) because she claimed that she couldn't get legal representation due to her husband being the president of the local attorney's association. A talking head on the program replied, "The vast majority of lawyers in that city would never have heard of him, and even if he was their best friend, it wouldn't have mattered as long as they were paid."

I was also noodling around on my local court blotter, and found a divorce case where about 10 attorneys recused themselves from the case at the same time. THAT must have been a doozy of a split.

Ethically, if you are capable (i.e., qualified, not otherwise engaged and no conflict) of taking on a case, you are supposed to take it. (Cab rank rule)

Melbourne 05-28-2019 04:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UDS (Post 21665678)
A "chambers" is a bunch of barristers who share office space, support staff, etc without being in a business partnership with one another, or having any interest in one another's earnings. You could think of it as a purchasing co-op whereby a bunch of self-employed sole traders pool their resources to buy accommodation, support services, resources, facilities, etc that they can all use.

Typically, they will all be on one premises, and that premises will also be referred to as their "chambers".

And typically, are all represented by the same "clerk", who is as the "manager' is to an entertainment act like Elvis Presley. So there is never a big conflict of commercial interest for the 'clerk" He gets his cut either way. But not always the same clerk! In which case there is a conflict of commercial interest, and, by my very limited observation, the commercial relationship can get a bit testy.

md2000 05-28-2019 12:52 PM

I recall someone I knew mentioned that so-and-so was a attorney in a Canadian city who specialized in handling divorces for wives of lawyers and judges. A difficult job if ever there was one... but on the other hand, the rest of the profession has to be very careful not to give any grounds in any court cases for claims of bias.

Mk VII 05-28-2019 01:09 PM

Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, but solicitors do a wider variety of legal work, much of which does not involve going anywhere near the courthouse.

msmith537 05-28-2019 08:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve McQwark (Post 21665332)
My wife used to be an attorney and I seem to recall her talking about something called a Chinese wall. As I understood it, the idea was that a firm could represent parties with potential conflicts of interest as long as the attorneys involved did not exchange any information. Not both sides in the same case, obviously, but if say A was suing B and the firm was representing A, they could also represent B in some completely unrelated case as long as the attorneys did not exchange any information. This doesn't work for individual attorneys of course, but a large firm should be able to do it.

I think they call it a "firewall" these days. Same principle, just less "racial".

When I worked at a consulting firm years ago that specialized in "litigation consulting" and later in the Big-4, we had to follow a similar procedure for "conflict checks". It's even more complex in the Big-4 as there is the additional rules around being an auditor. The point being that as we were typically hired by law firms, we don't want to be seen as being hired by law firms on both sides of the same case.

UltraVires 05-28-2019 08:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Isamu (Post 21665706)
You would say "chambers" because you don't have an equivalent entity. Just like you would call a kimono a kimono, because you don't have an equivalent. It's not just a shared office space - it's an association, run by a clerk who maintains the premises and sometimes decides which cases get given to which barristers.

Yeah, I've not heard of that arrangement. I know of a few solos who will rent the same office space and hire one secretary that takes the calls and does the paperwork for all of them to share the expenses, but they remain independent of each other and there is no decision as to who gets what cases. Each attorney is for himself.

Northern Piper 05-28-2019 10:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve McQwark (Post 21665822)
Well, son of a gun, I had thought barrister was just another word for lawyer, but your answer sent me to Google and I have now been enlightened on the differences between barristers, solicitors and lawyers. And chambers makes sense now as well. Thank you.

You're welcome.

Note that in Canada, we don't have the divided profession that England has, but we use the terms "barrister" and "solicitor" to indicate the type of work we do. If we say someone does solicitor work, it means that lawyer does mainly contracts, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, etc. A barrister is used for a lawyer who does a lot of litigation.

Personally, I would describe my practice as mainly barrister stuff, but some counsel (advisory) work. I don't do solicitor stuff, although technically I'm a "barrister and solicitor".

nearwildheaven 05-28-2019 11:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2000 (Post 21666905)
I recall someone I knew mentioned that so-and-so was a attorney in a Canadian city who specialized in handling divorces for wives of lawyers and judges. A difficult job if ever there was one... but on the other hand, the rest of the profession has to be very careful not to give any grounds in any court cases for claims of bias.

Nowadays, they'd also need someone who specialized in representing husbands of lawyers and judges.

Isamu 05-29-2019 07:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Piper (Post 21665823)
I've never heard of a case where a Chinese Wall is built in a firm on an ongoing basis to allow Smith to work on a file, against Jones in the same firm. That's an appearance of conflict and a breach of the firm's duty of loyalty to their client.

I worked at a firm where that happened, but we had to have written consent from both parties that they knew of the potential conflict of interest but consented anyway. Our ethical wall was actually a physical wall in that the attorney worked behind closed doors at all times.

Andy L 05-29-2019 08:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bob++ (Post 21665412)
In the UK, while an individual barrister might well be conflicted, it would not affect another barrister in the same chambers and both sides could well be represented by barristers who share a room in their chambers. This is because they are not employed but are individuals whose loyalty is only to the client.

When your tricky case breaks for (a long) lunch and you pop over from the law courts to the Wig and Pen for a sandwich and a pint, and you see your and the other side's barristers having lunch with the judge, you just have to rely on their sense of ethics.

Is it true that one barrister might be prosecuting a case that another barrister in the same chambers is defending?

Omar Little 05-29-2019 11:26 AM

It is not uncommon for many large companies to use many large law firms. The majority of these issues are not related to criminal issues, but primarily contract and civil issues.

It is also very common when two large companies are working on a deal or contract, that they each need legal representation. In many cases, both companies may use or have used many of the large law firms for representation, however in this new deal or contract, the law firms have a practice of clearing conflicts. This can be done with having separate legal teams work for client A that has no association with client B and vice versa at the other firm.

md2000 05-29-2019 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nearwildheaven (Post 21668033)
Nowadays, they'd also need someone who specialized in representing husbands of lawyers and judges.

Point taken... but sadly, the double standard still applies. Especially when the marriage fails after 20 or 30 years, the wife or a very successful lawyer, particularly a judge, is more likely to have been sacrificing any career to raise the kids, etc. etc. And older successful males are more likely to take a proprietary view of the property earned mainly by them during marriage, resenting sharing it with the ex. I'm imagining the husband of a very successful lawyer probably is fairly successful too, so the money argument is less likely to get vicious. (but of course, when it comes to divorces, nothing is a given.)

Anyway, this was 10 or 20 years ago, and so divorces after 20 or 30 years were more likely to involve a stay-at-home wife and some very nasty money arguments by husbands who didn't get to be successful by being nice.

Lungfish 05-29-2019 12:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy L (Post 21668420)
Is it true that one barrister might be prosecuting a case that another barrister in the same chambers is defending?

Yes. This happens regularly in the tv series Rumpole of the Bailey (1978-1992): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVkexeuvor4

The show was written by a barrister John Mortimer.

Andy L 05-29-2019 12:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lungfish (Post 21669119)
Yes. This happens regularly in the tv series Rumpole of the Bailey (1978-1992): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVkexeuvor4

The show was written by a barrister John Mortimer.

I should have said that I was a fan of Rumpole, and wondered how realistic that part was.

Elendil's Heir 05-30-2019 11:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnwittingAmericans (Post 21663609)
Steve Guttenberg.

I knew it!


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