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