Attorney Conflicts of Interest: Identifying and Resolving Ethical Pitfalls

Strategies to Minimize the Risk of Ethics Violations and Malpractice Claims

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide practitioners with a framework to identify the most problematic and difficult-to-detect conflicts of interest. The panel will outline best practices for counsel to cope with conflicts that could potentially result in disqualification, discipline or even malpractice.


Conflicts of interest are a daily concern for most practitioners. Potential conflicts come in many forms, impacting business transactions, representations of multiple individuals, interactions with current clients, and decisions to take on new clients, to name just a few.

Many conflicts can be resolved with client consent. However, effectiveness of waivers can vary, depending on the nature of the conflict, the timing of the waiver request, and whether the client is a current or former client. Conflicts must be anticipated and addressed in engagement letters.

Listen as our panel of attorneys experienced in ethics issues discusses how to identify potential conflicts issues and outlines best practices for avoiding or resolving those conflicts.



  1. Identifying sources for potential conflicts of interest
    1. Defining the client
    2. Defining the adversity that triggers conflict rules
    3. Adverse client conflict—direct adversity or adverse representation
    4. Joint representation—dual or concurrent representation
    5. Adversity to former clients
    6. Personal conflicts of interest
  2. Conflict resolution
    1. Withdrawal from representation
    2. Client consent
    3. Conflict waivers
    4. Engagement letters
    5. Law firm conflicts checks


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are some best practices for law firm conflict-avoidance procedures?
  • Under what circumstances will a conflict prevent representation?
  • How can engagement letters effectively limit potential conflicts?
  • What critical language should be included in a conflicts waiver document?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Thomas B. Mason
Thomas B. Mason

Partner, Chair of Legal Profession and Ethics Practice
Zuckerman Spaeder

He focuses his practice in the areas of professional responsibility and legal ethics. He advises and represents...  |  Read More

David J. McMahon
David J. McMahon

Barger & Wolen

He is Managing Partner of the firm’s San Francisco office. His practice focuses on large complex litigation,...  |  Read More

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