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Rule 1.10. Imputation of conflicts of interest: general rule.

(a) While licensed paralegalpractitioners are associated in a firm, none of them shall knowingly represent a client when any one of them practicingalone would be prohibited from doing so by Rules 1.7 or 1.9, unless the prohibition is based on a personal interest ofthe prohibited licensed paralegal practitioner and does not present asignificant risk of materially limiting the representation of the client by theremaining licensed paralegal practitioners in the firm.

(b) When a licensed paralegalpractitioner has terminated an association with a firm, the firm is not prohibited from thereafter representing aperson with interests materially adverse to those of a client represented bythe formerly associated licensed paralegal practitioner and not currentlyrepresented by the firm, unless:

(b)(1) thematter is the same or substantially related to that in which the formerly associatedlicensed paralegal practitioner represented the client;  and

(b)(2) anylicensed paralegal practitioner or licensed paralegal practitioner remaining inthe firm has information protected by Rules 1.6 and 1.9(c) that is material to the matter.

(c) When a licensed paralegalpractitioner becomes associated with a firm, no licensed paralegal practitioner or licensed paralegalpractitioner associated in the firm shall knowingly represent a person in a matter in which that licensedparalegal practitioner is disqualified under Rule 1.9 unless:

(c)(1) thepersonally disqualified licensed paralegal practitioner is timely screened from any participation in the matter and isapportioned no part of the fee therefrom, and

(c)(2) written notice is promptly given to any affected formerclient.

(d) A disqualification prescribed bythis Rule may be waived by the affected client under the conditions statedin Rule 1.7.

(e) The disqualification of licensedparalegal practitioners associated in a firm with former or current government licensed paralegalpractitioners is governed by Rule 1.11.

(f)Reserved.

 

Comment

Definition of "Firm"

[1] ?Firm,? as used in this rule, is defined in Rule 1.0(d).Whether two or more licensed paralegal practitioners constitute a firm forpurposes of determining conflict imputation can depend on the specific facts.See Rule 1.0, Comments [2] - [4].

Principles of Imputed Disqualification

[2] The rule of imputed disqualification stated in paragraph (a)gives effect to the principle of loyalty to the client as it applies tolicensed paralegal practitioners who practice in a law firm. Such situationscan be considered from the premise that a firm of licensed paralegalpractitioners is essentially one licensed paralegal practitioner for purposesof the rules governing loyalty to the client, or from the premise that eachlicensed paralegal practitioner is vicariously bound by the obligation ofloyalty owed by each licensed paralegal practitioner with whom the licensedparalegal practitioner is associated. Paragraph (a) operates only among thelicensed paralegal practitioners currently associated in a firm. When alicensed paralegal practitioner moves from one firm to another, the situationis governed by Rules 1.9(b) and 1.10(b).

[3] The rule in paragraph (a) does not prohibit representationwhere neither questions of client loyalty nor protection of confidentialinformation are presented. Where one licensed paralegal practitioner in a firmcould not effectively represent a given client because of strong politicalbeliefs, for example, but that licensed paralegal practitioner will do no workon the case and the personal beliefs of the licensed paralegal practitionerwill not materially limit the representation by others in the firm, the firmshould not be disqualified. On the other hand, if an opposingparty in a case were owned by a licensed paralegal practitioner in thelaw firm, and others in the firm would be materially limited in pursuing thematter because of loyalty to that licensed paralegal practitioner, the personaldisqualification of the licensed paralegal practitioner would be imputed to allothers in the firm.

[4] The rule in paragraph (a) also does not prohibitrepresentation by others in the firm where the person prohibited frominvolvement in a matter is neither an attorney nor a licensed paralegalpractitioner, such as a licensed paralegal or legal secretary. Nor doesparagraph (a) prohibit representation if the licensed paralegal practitioner isprohibited from acting because of events before the person became a licensedparalegal practitioner, for example, work that the person did while a student.Such persons, however, ordinarily must be screened from any personalparticipation in the matter to avoid communication to others in the firm ofconfidential information that both the nonparalegalpractitioners and the firm have a legal duty to protect. See Rule 5.3.

[5] Rule 1.10(b) operates to permit a law firm, under certaincircumstances, to represent a person with interests directly adverse to thoseof a client represented by a licensed paralegal practitioner who formerly wasassociated with the firm. The rule applies regardless of when the formerlyassociated licensed paralegal practitioner represented the client. However, thelaw firm may not represent a person with interests adverse to those of apresent client of the firm, which would violate Rule 1.7. Moreover, the firmmay not represent the person where the matter is the same or substantiallyrelated to that in which the formerly associated licensed paralegalpractitioner represented the client and any other licensed paralegalpractitioner currently in the firm has material information protected by Rules1.6 and 1.9(c).

[6] Rule 1.10(d) removes imputation with the informed consent ofthe affected client or former client under the conditions stated in Rule 1.7.The conditions stated in Rule 1.7 require the licensed paralegal practitionerto determine that the representation is not prohibited by Rule 1.7 and thateach affected client or former client has given informed consent to therepresentation, confirmed in writing. In some cases, the risk may be so severethat the conflict may not be cured by client consent. For a discussion of theeffectiveness of client waivers of conflicts that might arise in the future,see Rule 1.7, Comment [22]. For a definition of informed consent, see Rule1.0(f).

[7] Where a licensed paralegal practitioner has joined a privatefirm after having represented the government, imputation is governed by Rule1.11(b) and (c), not this Rule. Under Rule 1.11(d), where a licensed paralegalpractitioner represents the government after having served clients in privatepractice, nongovernmental employment or in another government agency,former-client conflicts are not imputed to government licensed paralegalpractitioners associated with the individually disqualified licensed paralegalpractitioner.

[8] Where a licensed paralegal practitioner is prohibited fromengaging in certain transactions under Rule 1.8, paragraph (k) of that Rule,and not this Rule, determines whether that prohibition also applies to otherlicensed paralegal practitioners associated in a firm with the personallyprohibited licensed paralegal practitioner.

 

Effective November 1, 2018