Loading

Attorney E-Newsletter

October 2005

Imputed Disqualification Table

The Rules of Professional Conduct create many situations where a lawyer may be disqualified from representing a party. Conflicts considerations become even more complicated when lawyers in the same firm may also be disqualified based on another lawyer's relationships – an event known as “imputed disqualification.” The rules governing various kinds of conflicts make different provisions for the imputed disqualification of current and former partners and associates of the disqualified lawyer.

The following table summarizes the imputed disqualification effects of various kinds of conflicts:

Abbreviations:

DQL: Disqualified Lawyer

DQ: Disqualified, Disqualification

Partic'd P&S: Participated Personally and Substantially

Rep'd: Represented

Rep'n: Representation

Note: Most representation under these cases is permissible with the informed consent of the affected parties.

  Rule under which DQL is DQ Reason for Lawyer's DQ Imputed DQ Rule for DQL's Firm Are All Lawyers in the Firm DQ? Precautions or Conditions Determining Whether Firm is DQ
1 1.7 Concurrent Client Conflicts 1.10(a) YES, except as noted. Does not DQ firm when DQ is based on DQL's personal interest AND does not limit rep'n by firm. See Lines 3 and 4 regarding DQLs who join or leave firm.
2 1.9 Former client conflicts 1.10(a) YES, except as noted. Does not DQ firm when DQ is based on DQL's personal interest AND does not limit rep'n by firm. See Lines 3 and 4 regarding DQLs who join or leave firm.
3 1.7
1.9
Concurrent/Former Client Conflicts: DQL Joins Firm 1.10(b) NO, if 3 precautions taken:

Applies if DQL or firm rep'd adverse party in same or related matter, AND DQL acquired material protected information. Precautions:

1) DQL screened;

2) DQL apportioned no part of fee; AND

3) Written notice given to “appropriate” client (presumably client DQL or former firm repr'd).

4 1.7
1.9
Concurrent/Former Client Conflicts: DQL Formerly with Firm 1.10(c) NO,usually: YES if 2 conditions apply:

Firm is DQ if:

1) Subject matter of rep'n is same or substantially related to that in which DQL rep'd client; AND

2) A lawyer remaining in firm has material protected information.

5 1.8(a)
- (i)
Personal interests, business transactions with clients, third party relationships, special rules 1.8(k) YES  
6 1.8(j) Sexual relationship with client 1.8(k) NO  
7 1.11 Former government employees/officers 1.11(b) YES, in cases where DQL partic'd P&S; allowed with precautions:

1) DQL screened;

2) DQL apportioned no part of fees received; AND

3) Written notice of rep'n given to agency where DQL served. May be subject to other law.

8 1.12 Former Judge, Law Clerk, Arbitrator, Mediator, or Other Third-Party Neutral 1.12(c) YES, in cases where DQL partic'd P&S; allowed with precautions:

1) DQL screened;

2) DQL apportioned no part of fees received; AND

3) Written notice of rep'n given to the tribunal where DQL served.

9 1.18 Prospective Clients 1.18(c) & (d) YES, but may be allowed with 4 noted precautions:

1) DQL took reasonable care to avoid acquiring more information than necessary to decide whether to represent prospective client;

2) DQL screened;

3) DQL apportioned no part of fees; AND

4) Written notice of rep'n given to prospective client.

10 3.7 Lawyer as Witness 3.7(b) NO Unless rep'n prohibited by 1.7 or 1.9.

NOTE: This table summarizes highly detailed and specific rules. It is intended only as a quick reference to the applicable sections of the rules, not as a statement of all the specific provisions of the rules. The summarization necessary to reduce these complex rules to a chart does not capture all the detail of the rules. Consulting the chart is no substitute for careful review of the rules and the comments themselves.

The Executive Director of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Shares His Thoughts on the Status and Future Direction of the Organization

Joe Farrell is no stranger to the workings of administrative organizations. Previous assignments as Deputy Executive Director of Administration and Enforcement for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, and as Manager of the Executive Office for Customer Advocacy at First Energy have provided a wealth of management and professional experiences for his task at the Disciplinary Board. Engaged by the Disciplinary Board to address the growing administrative needs of the organization, which oversees the conduct of more than 55,000 attorneys statewide, Farrell focuses on attorney communications, registration functions, personnel administration, and budgeting and financial management. [more]

(back to top)

The Disciplinary Board's new consumer brochure is available for you to view. To obtain a copy of the brochure visit any of the Pennsylvania county bar associations, the board's four district offices or the Disciplinary Board's website at http://www.padb.us. District offices are located in Lemoyne (Harrisburg), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Trooper, Pennsylvania.

Tip of the Month

Newly married? Divorced? Trying on a new identity? Congratulations, condolences, or best wishes, as the case may be.

But be careful if you change your name. A lawyer may not simply begin to practice under a name different than that under which she or he was admitted, even if it is merely a hyphenation including the lawyer's original registered name. Assuming a new name in marriage, reverting to a former name after divorce, changing the spelling of a name, or otherwise undertaking practice under a name other than one's registered name may all cause confusion about a lawyer's identity. Rule 219(d)(3) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement requires a lawyer to inform the Registration office within thirty (30) days of any change in the information submitted on a lawyer's annual registration form, and this includes changes in the lawyer's name.

A lawyer who has changed her or his name must submit a Name Change form, accompanied by a copy of the certificate or decree by which the name change was accomplished. A copy of the Name Change form can be printed from the Attorney Forms page of the Disciplinary Board's Web site, www.padisciplinaryboard.org or www.padb.us.