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Partner Represented Adverse Parties Prior to Joining Firm

Adopted: July 15, 1988

Opinion rules that attorney whose partner represented the adverse party prior to joining the firm is not disqualified unless the partner acquired confidential information material to the current dispute.


A represents H in a domestic dispute with W. In 1977, A's current partner B, while working for another firm, drafted a will for W. In 1980, B, after joining A's firm, assisted in the settlement of an estate in which W was interested and drafted a timber deed for H and W. A has never previously represented H or W nor any member of their family. A has not received any confidential information regarding W's financial circumstances. B did not bring any files related to the matter he handled for H and W with him when he joined A's firm.

May A continue representing H over W's objection?


Yes, assuming that B acquired no confidential information incident to his representation of W prior to joining A's firm which would be material to the current domestic case (Rule 5.11(b)), and, further, that the matters handled by B for W after joining A's firm are not substantially related to the current domestic dispute. Rule 5.1(d).

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