LEO: Attorney/Client - Attorney Employed by LE Op. 1085
Attorney/Client - Attorney Employed by Firm Representing
Client Against Former Partner.
May 20, 1988
You advise that you were an associate for approximately five years for
two law firms that had X as a partner. You have been with another law firm
for the past nine months. You recently filed a mechanic's lien on behalf
of one of your new clients against A in which X is a shareholder. You
state that it does not appear from your client's records that any of the
work was performed while you were an associate with X's firm. You further
state that you had no knowledge of your present client's work on the
project at that time. You wish to know whether or not it would be
unethical for another member of your firm to handle this case, as you are
not comfortable proceeding against a firm in which X is a shareholder.
Whether or not you learned any confidential information while employed by
the firms in which X was a partner, when a lawyer is associated in a firm
with another lawyer who directly represents a client, that lawyer is
presumed to have access to confidential information about the client.
Westinghouse Electric Corporation v. Kerr McGee Corp., 580 F.2d 1311 (CA7),
cert. denied, 439 U.S. 955 (1978). However, in this situation X never
represented the company against which your client wishes to proceed.
Furthermore, you state that you have no knowledge of either your client's
work or the work of A while employed with the former law firms.
The Committee therefore opines that it would not be improper for either
you or other members of your firm to continue to represent your client.
Committee Opinion May 20, 1988