Is Your Conflict System All That and a Bag of Donuts?

If not, then setting aside 75 minutes to learn about best practices will be worth your while.

Join me next week for Effective Conflict Systems and learn the ethical principles behind conflict-of-interest screening, how to avoid common ethical traps, and the process of choosing, operating, and implementing effective conflict systems. Oregon-specific MCLE Ethics (.75) and Practical Skills (.50) credits pending.

Here are some of the issues this CLE will address:

  • When is the lawyer-client relationship formed?
  • What are my ethical duties toward prospects vs. current or former clients?
  • How essential are disengagement letters vis-a-vis conflicts?
  • Is a formal conflict tracking system ethically necessary?
  • When should I run a conflict check?
  • Who should be included in my conflict system?
  • What are best practices for conflict procedures?
  • How can I avoid ethical traps involving dual roles, multiple clients, firm transitions, office sharing, and more?
  • What resources are available to help with conflict evaluation and screening?

When & Where: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Pacific Time. This is a live, online webinar.

Group Discounts: Available to firms who wish to register 5 or more attendees. Contact me for more information.

Participate in Polling & Ask Questions: Questions are welcome during the live event. Attendees are also encouraged to participate in live, anonymous polling.

How to Register

Register herechoose the image above, or visit the Upcoming CLE page. Secure payment processing powered by Eventbrite. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Program materials included in the $25 registration price. Don’t miss out! You can register as late as 8:00 a.m. the day of the program (March 11).

Can’t Make It?

Video and audio recordings will be available to download along with the program materials shortly after the live program event.  Price: $25. Contact me or visit my online CLE store to place an order.

All Rights Reserved 2020 – Beverly Michaelis

 

Effective Conflict Systems

Join me on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 for Effective Conflict Systems and learn the ethical principles behind conflict-of-interest screening, how to avoid common ethical traps, and the process of choosing, operating, and implementing effective conflict systems. Oregon-specific MCLE Ethics (.75) and Practical Skills (.50) credits pending.

Here are some of the issues this CLE will address:

  • When is the lawyer-client relationship formed?
  • What are my ethical duties toward prospects vs. current or former clients?
  • How essential are disengagement letters vis-a-vis conflicts?
  • Is a formal conflict tracking system ethically necessary?
  • When should I run a conflict check?
  • Who should be included in my conflict system?
  • What are best practices for conflict procedures?
  • How can I avoid ethical traps involving dual roles, multiple clients, firm transitions, office sharing, and more?
  • What resources are available to help with conflict evaluation and screening?

When & Where: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Pacific Time. This is a live, online webinar.

Group Discounts: Available to firms who wish to register 5 or more attendees. Contact me for more information.

Participate in Polling & Ask Questions: Questions are welcome during the live event. Attendees are also encouraged to participate in live, anonymous polling.

How to Register

Register herechoose the image above, or visit the Upcoming CLE page. Secure payment processing powered by Eventbrite. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Program materials included in the $25 registration price.

Can’t Attend?

Video and audio recordings will be available to download along with the program materials shortly after the live program event.  Price: $25. Contact me or visit my online CLE store to place an order.

Register Now!

All Rights Reserved 2020 – Beverly Michaelis

 

When Former Client Conflicts are Disqualifying

Quote

Division 1 of the Washington Court of Appeals recently issued a significant decision applying a new standard for former client conflicts in the disqualification context. In Plein v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, the plaintiff homeowners filed an insurance “bad faith” claim against their property insurance carrier, defendant USAA, over coverage for a fire and subsequent…

via Court of Appeals: New Standard in Disqualification for Former Client Conflicts — NWSidebar

Engagement Letters Are Your Friend

Today, I’d like to share a recent post from our friends at NW Sidebar about the importance of engagement letters.

In Cox v. Alliant Insurance Services, Inc., 2017 WL 4640452 (E.D. Wash. Sept. 19, 2017) (unpublished), the plaintiffs sought to disqualify the opposing law firm based on a conflict of interest. One of the plaintiffs argued that he was a former client of the firm on a substantially related matter, necessitating the law firm’s withdrawal.

The plaintiff’s contact with the firm was as a representative for a corporation.  In concluding that no attorney-client relationship existed between the plaintiff and the law firm, the court relied on two key points:

  • The law firm and corporation executed a written engagement agreement that identified the corporation (and not the individual) as the client in the matter.
  • The plaintiff failed to introduce contradictory evidence, i.e., he could not point to any communication or action by the firm which expanded the attorney-client relationship to include him individually as a client.

Read the full post here.

Lessons Learned

As we discussed in the CLE, Limiting Exposure to Conflicts, identifying your client and clarifying the client’s status (prospect, current client, or former client) is paramount to conflict screening and limiting your potential liability. The single best tool at your disposal? Written engagement, disengagement, and nonengagement letters – all of which are available at the Professional Liability Fund website.

But the law firm in Cox didn’t stop at the engagement letter. Firm members were also consistent in their actions toward the corporate representative. There was no evidence of emails, correspondence, or other communication supporting that the corporate representative was an individual client of the firm.

The moral of the story? A solid engagement letter is a small investment to make in the realm of thwarting conflicts and liability. Even better: maintaining consistency in your corporate communications.

All Rights Reserved 2018 – Beverly Michaelis