Addressing conflicts of interest presents challenges for practicing attorneys. The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct recently issued Opinion 2019-1 Representation of Adverse Party in Unrelated Matters. The Opinion stated:
- Absent informed consent, a lawyer may not undertake representation of an adverse party in an unrelated matter when the lawyer represents current clients with claims pending against the adverse party.
- A lawyer may not withdraw from representation of a current client in order to undertake representation of the adverse party, even if the matters are unrelated.
- Although the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct permit a lawyer, through informed written consent, to accept or continue representation when faced with a material limitation conflict, the Board recommends that this type of representation be avoided when possible.
- A lawyer who is unable to represent a prospective client due to a conflict may, in good faith, recommend another lawyer or list of lawyers to a prospective client without compromising the duty of loyalty owed to a current client.
If you have questions about this or any other topic, please feel free to contact me.
Gretchen Koehler Mote, Esq.,
Director of Loss Prevention