Overcoming Ethical Challenges for Multi-Firm Lawyers and Their Firms: Fiduciary Duty, Conflict, Fee-Splitting and More

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

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Conducted on Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will provide attorneys and law firms with the guidance necessary to avoid ethical missteps when attorneys are associated with more than one firm. The panel will discuss specific practices for avoiding pitfalls with conflicts of interest, fee-splitting, fiduciary duty issues and more. 


With alternative employment arrangements in the practice of law on the rise, attorneys and law firms must understand the ethical consequences that may result from association with more than one firm.

One of the biggest areas of concern for law firms involves conflicts checking. When working for more than one firm, a traditional screen is not sufficient to identify conflicts or resolve potential ethical violations. Instead, counsel and firms must implement different procedures to handle the imputation of conflicts, client permission to circulate conflict information, and the intersection with confidentiality rules.

Compliance with fee-sharing restrictions presents another challenge for attorneys and firms. Case authority is split on whether traditional approaches such as disclosure and client approvals satisfy fee-sharing limitations for attorneys working for more than one firm.

Listen as our authoritative panel reviews, in detail, the legal and ethical constraints regarding fiduciary duties, communicating with clients, conflict-checking procedures, fee-splitting, and maintaining professional independence.



  1. Fiduciary duties
    1. Taking clients from one firm to another
  2. Communicating with clients
  3. Conflict-checking procedures
    1. Confidentiality
  4. Fee-splitting
  5. Maintaining professional independence


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the ethical constraints for firms and attorneys on working with attorneys with multi-firm affiliations?
  • What must attorneys and firms implement to avoid pitfalls with conflicts-checking when associated with more than one firm?
  • What resolutions are appropriate for dealing with fee-sharing restrictions?
  • What are the factors involved in determining which firm gets the engagement of the attorney's clients?


William T. Burke
William T. Burke

Williams & Connolly

Mr. Burke concentrates his practice in complex civil and criminal litigation in state, federal, and appellate courts....  |  Read More

Craig D. Singer
Craig D. Singer

Williams & Connolly

Mr. Singer concentrates his practice in three broad areas: professional liability, criminal defense, and appellate...  |  Read More

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