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Ethically Representing Clients With Adverse Interests: Assessing When Legal Adverseness Requires Disqualification

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 Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will guide both litigators and transactional lawyers in distinguishing between a prohibited representation that is directly adverse to concurrent or former clients and a permitted representation. The program will review scenarios where conflicts are relatively straightforward but focus on those situations where determining the existence of a material adverse interest is difficult. The panel will also discuss the propriety--and effectiveness--of attempting to create or dissolve "direct adverse interests" through consent.


Because the Model Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit an attorney (and any other attorneys within the firm) from representing a client that is "directly adverse to another client on the same or substantially related matter," attorneys must understand just how far the requirement of "directly adverse" extends.

Answering this crucial question depends entirely on the nature and circumstances of the different representations. The adverseness must be legal and not merely economic, but the lines can be blurred.

Clients may try to restrict a lawyer from representing competitors or define "client" so broadly that a lawyer must forego a host of potential future clients. When a conflict between two clients arises, attorneys may try to shed clients that are less professionally attractive, but if they do, they may run afoul of the so-called "hot potato" rule.

Listen as our expert panel guides counsel through the issues related to conflicts of interest that can arise from the lawyer's responsibilities to another client, a former client, and even prospective clients, as well as offers best strategies to mitigate risk.



  1. Relevant rules and how to identify a conflict
  2. Potential conflicts of interest and conflict resolution
  3. Lateral moves
  4. Adversity with former clients
  5. Personal conflicts of interest
  6. Over extensive outside counsel guidelines
  7. Hot potato rule


The panel will discuss these and other key issues:

  • When do an attorney's relationships create a conflict requiring disclosure to the client and informed consent?
  • Is attacking a lawyer's prior work or cross-examining a former client a material adverse representation?
  • Should counsel's vocal participation in a community issue prevent them from representing a client with whom the lawyer disagrees on a public issue?
  • Can a lawyer advocate a position in one case contrary to the one advocated previously?


Krauss, Geri
Geri S. Krauss

Managing Member
Krauss PLLC

Ms. Krauss is a respected litigator and recognized expert on complex issues relating to professional partnerships....  |  Read More

Lefkowitz, David
David Lefkowitz

The Lefkowitz Firm LLC

Mr. Lefkowitz represents individuals and companies (corporations, LLCs, PCs, etc.) in their claims for legal...  |  Read More

Parker, Port
Port J. Parker

CEO/Managing Partner
Parker Taylor Law Group APC

Mr. Parker has more than 25 years of experience in innumerable areas of law. He specializes in complex civil, tort, and...  |  Read More

Snyder, Lauren
Lauren E. Snyder

Harris Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

Ms. Snyder, Vice Chair of the HWG’s Legal Ethics and Malpractice group, focuses her practice on legal ethics and...  |  Read More

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