Legal Ethics Opinion No. 1430
   Appearance of Impropriety: Former Local Government Attorney
        Hired by Firm Employed as Outside Counsel for Same
                     Local Government Entity.
  A law firm is considering offering employment to an individual
who is presently an attorney for a local government entity. In
that capacity, the attorney has been substantially involved in
ongoing litigation in which the law firm in question is acting as
special outside counsel for the local government. The individual
local government attorney and the law firm have worked closely
together as advocates for the local government entity and the
matter in question may continue for as long as two more years.

  The Committee has been asked to opine whether, under the facts
of the inquiry, it would be improper for the law firm to employ
the attorney provided that the attorney is screened from any
involvement in the ongoing matter with his prior employer,
including any direct financial benefit accruing to the firm from
its involvement in such matter. More specifically, it has been
inquired whether such screening will have eliminated any risk of
imputed disqualification of other members of the firm.

  The Committee opined that, since the government
attorney/potential new hire has been substantially involved in
ongoing litigation, the plain language of  DR 9-101(B) prohibits
the attorney from personally participating in the same matter in
his new capacity as a private attorney, although adverse
representation is not involved. Any continued personal
involvement by the former government attorney in the matter would
be per se violative of  DR 9-101(B). 

  The Committee is of the opinion that since  DR 9-101 and its
component subparts contain no corollary to the imputed
disqualification required by  DR 5-105(E), it would not be per se
improper for lawyers in the firm to continue to serve as special
outside counsel to the governmental entity by which the new
lawyer has previously been employed. The Committee believes that
the imputation of an appearance of impropriety to all the lawyers
in the firm would be too elusive and unfocused to warrant
disqualification of the entire firm based purely, since no
adverse interests are involved and, thus, no imputed
disqualification is mandated by  DR 9-101(B), the committee
opines that although the attorney may not personally participate,
professionally or financially, in the representation, no formal
screening will be necessary.  DR 9-101(B); LE Op. 702; LE Op.
942; General Motors Corp. v. City of New York, 501 F.2d 639 (2d
Cir. 1974); Kesselhaut v. U.S., 555 F.2d 792 (Ct. Cl. 1977);
Armstrong v. McAlpin, 625 F.2d 433, 445 (2d Cir. 1980), vacated
on other grounds,449 U.S. 1106 (1981) (quoting Board of Education
v. Nyquist, 590 F.2d 1241 (2d Cir. 1979); Kadish v. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission, 548 F. Supp. 1030, 1034 (N.D. Ill.
E.D. 1982).]

  Council Opinion
  February 22, 1992