Conflicts of Interest Toolkit updated

  • November 03, 2020

All lawyers should be alert to the potential for conflicts of interest when taking on a new client or a new matter for an existing client as a matter of due diligence. Some conflicts are easier to spot than others, however, and identifying them takes a strategic approach.

Professional conduct codes define a “conflict of interest” as “the existence of a substantial risk that a lawyer’s loyalty to or representation of a client would be materially and adversely affected by the lawyer’s own interest or the lawyer’s duties to another client, a former client, or a third person.”

Given changes to professional conduct rules, case law and practice contexts since the CBA published its Conflicts of Interest toolkit in 2008, the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Subcommittee is updating the toolkit this fall with new information and downloadable forms and templates to help members ensure that they are conflict-free.

The materials in the toolkit provide practical guidance and precedents intended to help lawyers recognize, deal with and avoid conflicting interests across different practice contexts, but primarily in the private sector.

Lawyers should check for conflicts starting with client intake and should be alert to them throughout the course of any active matter.

“The requirements for successfully managing conflicts of interest are quite basic: be aware of your obligations; exercise good judgment; and effectively communicate and document the decisions you make and the actions you take when dealing with conflicts of interest. The guidelines, checklists and precedents in this Toolkit are designed to assist you in achieving this objective.”

Be sure to register for the Nov. 26 webinar reviewing conflicts and the updated toolkit.