Secondment Agreement Conflict Of Interest

Many companies find that secondments to community law organizations are an effective way to provide pro bono services. Here are some of the issues a company needs to consider with respect to secondments. Previously, the Board had also concluded, without discussion, that the seconded lawyer should return to the law firm, that the lawyer retains the «class rank» at the registry, or that the lawyer maintains benefits under the registry`s retirement plans, the question of whether she is related to the law firm during the secondment is irrelevant. These findings, like those made in the Committee`s analysis of supervisory issues, clearly demonstrate that they are also intended to protect the seconded counsel and do not create an unenforceable situation in which that lawyer should forego hard-earned opportunities or financial interests to make the detachment viable. Although it was not explicitly stated in the notice, there is no doubt that this would disturb the advantageous detachment of the detached lawyer to make these interests of the detached lawyer play against his firm`s interest in the detachment. Assuming that neither the host organization nor client Z were willing to provide the necessary information and/or waive the conflict, the law firm (and the seconded lawyer) would be excluded from the representation. One could easily imagine how many potential and real conflicts arise if the host organization was a large audit firm or an investment bank involved in countless transactions and financial affairs of clients. The inability of the law firm to assume (or prosecute) would be disastrous for the end result. For example, the seconded lawyer may learn that the host organization has been contacted confidentially in order to extend the critical financing of labour capital to Corporation Y.

At the same time, the company may represent Z customers who intend to launch a hostile bid for Y Corporation. Continued cooperation with the seconded counsel would require that the registry have information «so essential to the second representation», i.e. client Z, that the registry would defend different interests. [NYC Bar 2007-2.] Businesses may wish to think about how to maintain a relationship with the community organization after a secondment and/or so that the MEMBER can otherwise refine the pro bono work in the company. Once companies are back in the business, they could allow the honourable Member to visit the community organization on a casual and ideally fully decouctable/credited time basis. Companies could also identify opportunities to add pro-bono work types with the organization, for example. B by establishing a tutoring relationship in which former MPs would participate in the Centre`s file work through audits or advice on process strategies.