LEO: Domestic Relations - Conflict of Interest  LE Op. 1189


Domestic Relations - Conflict of Interest - Vicarious

Disqualification: Representing One Adverse to

Former Client of Law Firm.


November 17, 1988


An attorney wishes to know whether it is proper for a law firm to

continue representing a husband in a divorce proceeding when five years

earlier the wife received legal advice from an associate of the same law

firm with regard to a domestic matter and a brief summary of what was

discussed was relayed to the member of the firm now representing the

husband. The wife was billed for her office conference and the associate

subsequently left the law firm.


The Committee opined that it would be improper for the attorney for the

husband to continue to represent the husband in the domestic matter since

it is the same or is substantially related to the matter on which the wife

consulted the law firm previously and since the former client, the wife,

has not consented after full disclosure. Furthermore, DR:5-105(E) would

require the attorney's vicarious disqualification although it was a former

associate who had the attorney/client relationship with the wife.


 LE Op. 888 states that it is improper for an attorney to represent a

wife in a domestic matter when nine years prior, the attorney had

conferred with the husband with regard to legal advice concerning a

separation from his wife. [ DR:5-105(D), DR:5-105(E) and LE Op. 888.]


Committee Opinion November 17, 1988