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Old 05-27-2019, 05:36 PM
UltraVires is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Bridgeport, WV, US
Posts: 15,782
Originally Posted by Steve McQwark View Post
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."