Most disqualification cases arise from a conflict of interest involving disclosure or the threat of disclosure of confidential information.1 On occasion, a disqualification motion will be made upon the alleged unethical conduct of adverse counsel. In some cases, courts have held that a litigant may have standing to assert a basis for disqualification of the opposing counsel even where there was no pre-existing attorney-client relationship between that counsel and the moving party, and confidential information was not involved.
A recent 2011 decision addressed the law applicable to enforcement of arbitration clauses in retainer agreements and concluded in somewhat unique circumstances that a lawyer did not have a fiduciary duty to separately explain the clause to the clients where the language of the agreement was understandable and the clients simply failed to read it.
Will the litigation privilege protect a lawyer who discloses information to a state agency about the prospective unlawful conduct of a former client? A recent Second District Court of Appeal decision, Fremont Reorganizing Corporation v. Faigin,1 establishes important precedent regarding the application of anti-SLAPP protections in actions between a lawyer and a former client, as well as clarifies the scope of the litigation privilege and whether it applies in the client’s claim for breach of the duty of confidentiality.
Orange County Lawyer Magazine In most litigation matters the subject of mediation is at the forefront of the settlement process. Judges and lawyers routinely assume that nearly every significant case will go to mediation. Yet, until the Legislature acts… lawyers are now literally exempt from liability for misconduct at or related to mediation if the evidence is dependent upon communications related to the mediation. [Download PDF]
A recent court of appeal decision resolved the question of whether it is unethical for a lawyer to offer to discount legal fees to encourage a client to settle an action. In Chan v. Lund, 188 Cal. App. 4th 1159 (2010), the Sixth Appellate District concluded that the attorney’s offer does not constitute a “business transaction” subject to the disclosure requirements of Rule 3-300 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.