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Old 05-27-2019, 04:12 PM
UltraVires is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Bridgeport, WV, US
Posts: 15,782
Originally Posted by Steve McQwark View Post
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.