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RPC 74

October 20, 1989

Conflict of Interest Involving a Legal Assistant

 

Opinion rules that a firm which employs a paralegal is not disqualified from representing an interest adverse to that of a party represented by the firm for which the paralegal previously worked.

 

Inquiry:

 

Paralegal P worked for Firm A. While working with Firm A she participated in some degree with the preparation and interviewing of two plaintiff clients. Paralegal P subsequently left Firm A of her own volition.

 

Firm B hired Paralegal P approximately six months after she left Firm A. Firm B represents a defendant in the case on which Paralegal P had worked while employed with Firm A. Firm B has not allowed Paralegal P to work on the file in any way.

 

Can Firm B continue to employ Paralegal P or does Paralegal P's previous employment with Firm A create a conflict of interest?

 

Opinion:

 

Firm B may continue to employ Paralegal P and continue in the case but should take extreme care to insure that P is totally screened from participation in the case.

 

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