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In-House Counsel and Legal Ethics: Recent and Recurring Issues

Applicability of Rules, Conflicts of Interest, Confidentiality, Representation Issues, Disqualification, Communication with Others

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

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, December 16, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide in-house counsel with guidance on the best practices for compliance with ethical rules and how the decisions in several recent ethics cases have attempted to clarify the obligations as both an employee of and adviser to the business, which serves as the client.


Some in-house lawyers don't fully grasp how legal ethics rules apply to them. The rules do not distinguish between in-house and other attorneys in most circumstances, and case law supports that an in-house lawyer is subject to the requirements of Rule 1.8, especially in the area of compensation-created conflicts.

Attorneys serving as in-house counsel are also required to address conflicts of interest that are both "directly adverse" as defined under Rule 1.7(a)(1) or a "material limitation" as defined under Rule 1.7(a)(2). In-house counsel must examine the legal ethics concerns when provided payment via stock in its client (Rule 1.8) and when imputed disqualification applies to a corporation's legal department (Rule 1.10).

Corporate counsel serving in-house must determine what it means to adhere to confidentiality (Rule 1.6) and privilege restrictions under the rules and to whom in the company that privilege is owed (Rule 1.13).

Additionally, this presentation will cover dealing with the represented opposing party (Rule 4.2), the unrepresented party (Rule 4.3), issues related to supervisory duties and covenants not to compete (Series 5 Rules), and misconduct (Series 8 Rules).

Listen as our authoritative speaker discusses the complex interplay between the ethical rules and requirements of in-house counsel to serve the client and will review current case law interpreting these rules to outline best practices for lawyers to provide zealous representation while complying with the ethical requirements.



  1. In-house counsel and legal ethics
  2. Business transactions: Rule 1.8
  3. Conflict of interest
    1. Directly adverse: Rule 1.7(a)(1)
    2. Material limitation: Rule 1.7(a)(2)
  4. Confidentiality: Rule 1.6
  5. Imputed disqualification: Rule 1.10
  6. Representation: Rule 4.2
  7. Confidentiality walls: Rule 1.11
  8. The client is the corporation: Rule 1.13
  9. Dealing with the Court (Rule 3 series)
  10. Dealing with third parties (Rule 5 series)
  11. Supervisory issues (Rule 7 series)
  12. Misconduct (Rule 8 series)


The panelist will review these and other relevant issues:

  • What are the most serious legal ethics issues facing in-house attorneys?
  • How does in-house counsel determine who within the organization is the client and entitled to the privilege?
  • How best can in-house counsel avoid directly adverse or materially limited conflicts of interest?
  • How has case law informed the interpretation of legal ethics restrictions on in-house counsel?


Tanner, John
John M. (Jack) Tanner

Fairfield and Woods

Mr. Tanner's experience includes handling a decade-long receivership for Indian Motorcycle involving dozens of...  |  Read More

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