The ‘Hot Potato’ Rule is a serious matter and Goodwin Law and their attorneys Tom Hefferon and Matt Sheldon (re VSB complaints) are guilty as charged. Yet the Virginia State Bar has attempted to dismiss the Burkes complaints against it’s attorneys. That’s not something LIT sees as legally a viable option for Mr Bodie, Intake Counsel. Here’s a case which outlines his grave errors, El Camino Resources, Ltd. v. Huntington National Bank, 623 F. Supp. 2d 863 (W.D. Mich. 2007).
Violation of Rule 1.7(a)
Ethical rules involving attorneys practicing in the federal courts are ultimately questions of federal law. The federal courts, however, are entitled to look to the state rules of professional conduct for guidance.
In re Snyder, 472 U.S. 634, 645 n.6 (1985); see National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Pittsburgh, Pa. v. Alticor, Inc., 466 F.3d 456, 457-58 (6th Cir. 2006), vacated in part on other grounds, 472 F.3d 436 (6th Cir. 2007) (applying Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct).
The district judges of this court have determined that the ethical obligations of attorneys practicing before it will generally be governed by Michigan Rules of Professional Responsibility.
See W.D. MICH. LCIVR 83.1(j); City of Kalamazoo v. Michigan Disposal Serv. Corp., 125 F. Supp. 2d 219, 231 (W.D. Mich. 2000).
“The Pepper Hamilton firm has conducted itself in a way that no court would ever condone. This is not a situation in which a law firm innocently finds itself in a conflict situation not of its own making. A law firm’s duty of loyalty to its clients is paramount, and no court should lightly countenance such a patent breach of that duty. The motions to disqualify the Pepper Hamilton firm will be granted.”
This Court is fully aware of the “changes” in the “legal world” and attempts to stay abreast of them and deal with cases in an up-to-date fashion. Keeping that in mind, however, does not somehow lead this Court to believe that “changes” also mean adopting a set of principles and ethics for “mega corporations” and “monster law firms” which is something less than that imposed on small companies and lesser-size law firms.
Rule 1.7 stands as is for everyone.
This Court notes that, if anything, large law firms have an even greater responsibility to incorporate satisfactory computer conflicts check systems simply because of their size and the fact the lawyers in these firms are not able to manually check their client lists for potential conflicts.
Lemelson v. Apple Computer, Inc., 28 U.S.P.Q.2d at 1419
(rejecting SWS’s approach of a size- dependent application of ethical rules regarding disqualification).
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