This program was originally presented on November 8, 2019.
The first step in every ethics analysis is answering the question, who is your client? It’s seemingly a very easy question to answer, but it’s not always 20/20 except in hindsight. Representing multiple parties on the same matter, whether in litigation or on a transaction, may mean you have many clients, some or all with conflicts. If you’re a private practitioner and you represent an organization, your client may be the entity, its officers from whom you are taking directions, or possibly both. If you’re an in-house attorney, the analysis – and its implications for the attorney-client privilege – becomes even more complex. This program will provide you with a real world guide to ethics of identifying your client in a variety of settings avoiding conflicts of interest with the client.
- Ethics and identifying your client and avoiding conflicts in transactions and litigation
- Representing businesses entities, nonprofit associations, and the government – client v. person giving directions
- Identifying clients in trust and estate planning – the testator or the person paying your fees?
- Special ethical challenges and ethical risks for in-house counsel and attorney-client privilege issues
- How to untangle clients and conflicts in joint representations – managing conflicts and information flows
- Best practices in documenting client representation to avoid later challenge
Elizabeth Treubert Simon is an ethics attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where she advises on a wide range of ethics and compliance-related matters to support Akin Gump’s offices worldwide. Previously, she practiced law in Washington DC and New York, focusing on business and commercial litigation and providing counsel to clients regarding professional ethics and attorney disciplinary procedures. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Discipline and the District of Columbia Legal Ethics Committee. She writes and speaks extensively on attorney ethics issues. She received her B.A. and M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from Albany Law School.
Thomas E. Spahn is a partner in the McLean, Virginia office of McGuireWoods, LLP, where he has a broad complex commercial, business and securities litigation practice. He also has a substantial practice advising businesses on properly creating and preserving the attorney-client privilege and work product protections. For more than 20 years he has lectured extensively on legal ethics and professionalism and has written “The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work Product Doctrine: A Practitioner’s Guide,” a 750 page treatise published by the Virginia Law Foundation. Mr. Spahn has served as member of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and as a member of the Virginia State Bar's Legal Ethics Committee. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.
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